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14 JUL 2016

Cistus Ladanifer and Quinta do Vallado

Quinta do Vallado celebrates its 300th anniversary since its establishment in 1716. It has been part of the Ferreira family heritage since 1818. António Bernardo Ferreira I - uncle to the legendary Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira - bought the estate in the beginning of the 19th century. Since then, and for six generations, it has been his descendants who have set a successful course for this emblematic estate, in the heart of the Douro Valley.

How does one survive for three centuries in the Douro? A region renowned for its "nine months of winter and three months of hell", known for putting to test those who venture on its hillsides? The perfect example of survival in the Douro can be found in these two words: Cistus Ladanifer. The odds are you probably won't recognize them. You'll be surprised to know these words give meaning to one of the most symbolic species in the Douro Valley: The Rock-Rose Cistus, locally known as Esteva.

Inspired by the shape of its capsules, the name originates from the greek name ‘kistos', meaning basket. More so than its capsules, it is its white petals with distinct perfume that make this shrub a headliner amongst the region's flora. Its leafs release a scented resin, labdanum, frequently used for herbal medicine and perfumery. This is the floral fragrancy one finds inscribed in many tasting notes for Douro wines.

Our most avid followers will recall a discrete white-leafed flower that has always accompanied our back-labels. That's right: Cistus! It's not for the abundance of this notorious shrub in the terrains of our estate that we've saved a front-row seat on our labels. On the contrary, it is quite rare to cross paths with this flower as we hike the ups and downs of Quinta do Vallado. We find meaning in the Cistus flower for seeing a reflection of ourselves within its many virtues: perfectly adapted to the terrain, climate and setbacks of the Douro, for its persistence, resistance and resilience. Its aroma and dazzling white petals never cease to impress. Cistus leaves no one indifferent - this is the impact we seek for our wines.

There is another curiosity that binds us to this species: for its adaptiveness and fast growth, Cistus shrub has been used to boost ecosystems in less fertile terrains. When it grows, so does everything else. That is how we see ourselves in the Douro, and that is the strategy we seek to employ through initiatives like those promoted by the Douro Boys.

It isn't the lack of water or the burning temperatures that keep this shrub from flourishing and enriching the scenery of the Douro Valley. With little, a lot. In adversity, prosperity. Cistus and us, we live and grow in the same way. It would strange if it were any other way, after all, we've been sharing the Douro for over 300 years.