|Written by Roy Hersh|
|Saturday, 17 November 2012 05:48|
The FTLOP series, Port Personalities In Focus, alternates with A Question for the Port Trade every other month. In Focus concentrates on bridging the gap, introducing readers to people who are not usually in the media's spotlight, with some license to occasionally "interview" someone that is. In Focus brings you candid comments, personal perspectives, and a better understanding of the people inside the trade. From sales and marketing professionals, to master blenders, winemakers and vineyard managers, to distributors and importers, owners and managing directors; In Focus will introduce you to Port personalities who work at small family-owned operations to the largest wine companies in Portugal. We hope you'll benefit from meeting the people on these pages!
This month FTLOP is proud to introduce you to Xito Olazabal who is the wine and Portmaker at the historic property of Quinta do Vale Meão, originally owned by Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira. Xito also makes the wine at his cousin's property at Quinta do Vallado. It was Xito, that talked his father Vito, into going it alone in the late 1990's and they went from grape growers to wine producers.
Here is Xito's story:
1. How did you break into the Porto and Douro wine trade and at what age?
I took part in my first vintage at Ramos Pinto when I was 15 years old and since then I have never missed one. So it was a natural thing to study enology at Vila Real University (UTAD). I started to work officially in 1993 at Quinta do Vallado, which had a large stock of old Ports.
2. What is your favorite style of Douro wine and also Port to drink at home, and can you name two or three of the greatest one's you've ever tried?
I drink much more tawny (10 and 20 years old) than Vintage Port. I think this type of Port is really great at the end of a meal. But the king of Port is the Vintage.
3. Besides wines from your own company, what others do you most enjoy drinking?
I became more interested in Vintage Ports when I made the 2000 Quinta do Vale Meão, (our first Vintage Port which is aging beautifully) and since that year I have tasted almost all of the other Vintages Ports. From my point of view, some of the Vintages Ports of the last decade will be the greatest ever.
4. What brings you the most joy in what you do within the Port and Douro wine trade?
5. Would you please share one piece of unique trivia or historical information about your company that would be new to FTLOP readers?
6. Which individual has been your greatest mentor and how have they inspired you?
Xito and Vito Olazabal
7. What is the greatest challenge facing the Port wine trade today?
8. Can you share one new project or improvement that your company is involved with?
9. What can the industry do to improve the promotion and education of Port and Douro wine and grow market share in the ever evolving beverage marketplace?
10. What non-wine activities do you enjoy?
Francisco, Luisa & Xito Olazabal and team