Julia's Portuguese Marathon - Douro
See the guide to Julia's Portuguese marathon for further articles in the series - those already published and those set for publication this week.
These 331 tasting notes were taken over an extended period of time while I was selecting my top 50 Portuguese wines, starting back in October 2011, when I visited several producers in the Douro Superior, up towards the Spanish border (having visited the heart of the Douro on several other occasions): Quinta da Ervamoira, Quinta do Vale do Meão, Quinta do Couquinho and Quinta da Leda (owned by Sogrape). Many of the wines were gathered together at a regional tasting not long after that, and the rest were tasted on many and various occasions in Portugal and in London.
Apart from a small group of Dalva ports at the every end, these were all unfortified wines as my remit for the top 50 excluded fortified wines from the Douro and Madeira. (The reason is entirely pragmatic and a little dull: ViniPortugal, who run the top 50 programme, do not represent port or madeira, which have their own promotional bodies.) But I was delighted to take a break from rich, powerful reds and complex whites to taste these older Dalva tawnies and especially the miraculously fresh sweet old white ports - purely for pleasure.
I haven't actually counted, but I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to find that there are more articles on Douro table wines on this site than there are on the wines of any other region of Portugal, even though these wines were neglected for many years once port became popular and well established in the 18th century. Most sources would say that the renaissance of Douro table wines began with Barca Velha in the Douro Superior in the 1950s (see the Oxford Companion entry on the Douro) but it is really in the last 30 or so years that they have come more widely into their own, with vineyards more obviously cultivated for this specific purpose and winemaking facilities brought up to date and able to produce fine wines in the extremely harsh conditions of the Douro Valley.
Today the quality of table wines in the Douro is exceptional, although there is still in my opinion a (diminishing) tendency to overoak these deeply coloured and rich-fruited nectars. And there is a much wider range of styles than there was even ten years ago, with many more examples revealing finesse, freshness and a specific origin rather than a blunderbuss of ripe, sometimes port-like fruit. Many of my favourite red wines have a sort of dark savoury character and very fine, tightly packed tannins, particularly in youth, that I am often tempted to describe as coal-like, though I fear that may not sound as positive as it is intended. Whites, too, especially those made from indigenous varieties, old vines, often field blends, show a wonderful density and complexity that marry well with oak and age remarkably well where freshness has been coaxed and treasured.
As with each region of Portugal that was part of this marathon, there is so much more to say, a book to be written, but, as Jancis will tell you, we have quite enough of those in the pipeline at the moment. If you do want to read more widely on the Douro, I recommend Richard Mayson's recently revised work Port and the Douro, although he does focus more on port than on the table wines.
The notes below are presented in alphabetical order by producer (sur)name, and then whites before reds for each one. Only one producer chose to show me a rosé. Where I tasted the same wine more than once (ie on different occasions in different locations), I have kept both notes in the hope that they will give a fuller picture rather than confuse. NB if you click on the wine name, you can see the date tasted in the more detailed search results. GV = good value; VGV = very good value.
Águia Moura, Em Vinhas Velhas Reserva 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2015
Field blend of about 10 different varieties including Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barca. 12 months in French oak.
Very distinctive nose: floral and and red fruit so sweet and leans towards strawberry, but not quite. Just starting to show a touch of age in delicate meaty notes. Juicy, fresh and just a touch hard at the very end of the palate – so there's concentration but not as effortless as the Lua Nova old vines just tasted. Bitter-sweet finish. (JH) 14%
Aliança, Quinta dos Quatro Ventos 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca. Part of the Aliança group. From the Douro Superior. 12 months in new French and Russian oak. Winemaker Francisco Antunes, consultant Pascal Chatonnet.
Bright cherry colour. Fragrant with but not overwhelmed by oak spice. Sweet ripe cherry fruit and some herbs. Touch of chocolate - flavour and texture - on the palate but again the fruit depth balances the oak well. Chewy but not at all tough. Lots of pleasure. (JH) 14%
Aliança, Quinta dos Quatro Ventos 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2015
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. Greyish dark crimson. Complex aromas: very slightly earthy but also the sweetness of oak spice and plenty of dark fruit. Some vanilla. A bit hard on the finish. (JH) 14%
Aliança, Quinta dos Quatro Ventos Reserva 2007 Douro 16 Drink 2010-2015
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. Consultant Pascal Chatonnet (used to be Michel Rolland). 12 months in new French and Russian oak.
Greyish deep crimson. Muted nose. A little dusty. Then sweet - chocolate - on the mid palate. Tannins are rounded and resolved, chocolate textured. Polished but not really eye-catching. Finishes fresh. Very correct. (JH) 15%
Alta Pontuação 2008 Douro 14 Drink ??
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca. Name means high score. Old vines.
Odd, cardboardy and smells yeasty as if it is still going through malo though it obviously is not. Dry and flat on the palate. Cardboard on the finish too. (JH) 13.5%
Altano 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2012
Viosinho, Malvasia Fino, Moscatel Galego. Ripe and complex on the nose. Grapefruit but also grapey Muscat and a touch of smoky mineral. Sour grapefruit on the palate, doesn't have great depth but lots of character and flavour. (JH) 12%
Altano 2010 Douro 16+ Drink 2011-2012
Symington Family Estates. Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Moscatel Galego. Fruit from higher, cooler vineyards, from Quinta da Fonte Branca near Lamego and from selected growers in the Alijó and Favaios areas.
Very pale. Herbal, verging on boxtree, fresh citrus/grapefruit aroma. Plus a delicate smoky/mineral (?reductive) thiol note. Very crisp and fresh. Dry, lively - would definitely keep you cool on a hot Douro day. Needs to be drunk young. Long mineral finish. Don't know the price but I suspect it is under £10 and GV. Reminds me in some ways current Sauvignon Blancs coming from NZ producers such as St Clair. (JH) 12.2%
Altano 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Symington Family Estates. Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca. Organically farmed vineyards at Quinta de Assares. 9-10 months in French oak.
Both aromatic (mostly fresh red fruit) and mineral at the same time. Lively on the nose with a hint of orange among that red fruit. Tight and fresh and has a fine stony layer through the middle even though there's fruit all around it. Some oak in evidence but mercifully in the background. Lovely tension and freshness. VGV (JH) 14%
Altano 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Symington Family Estates. Dark fruit with a hidden and surprising note of orange, herbs and violets. Subtle fragrance. Fresh and lively and beautifully fragrant. Taut and lively and VGV. Best vintage of Altano I have ever tasted. (JH) 13%
Altano, Organically Farmed Red 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2015
Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca. Organically farmed, 10 months in French oak.
Deep black cherry colour. Freshness of garrigue over small dark-berried fruit. Hint of elderberry. Smooth, tasty and quite approachable even now. Sweet mocha on the mid palate. Moderate density and more savoury on the finish. Smooth finish. (JH) 14.2%
Altano, Quinta do Ataíde Reserva 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2018
Touriga Nacional from the Symingtons. Gorgeous ripe fruit on the nose, fully ripe but no raisining or overripeness so that it also has that great savoury Douro edge. Then surprisingly dry and almost dusty on the palate, but fresh and lingering. 10 months in 400-litre French oak, which is probably why the oak influence is subtle. Powder-fine, dry tannins. Sophisticated, not obvious and easy to underestimate. Leaves the mouth feeling fresh. A model of moderation, just as their technical sheet is a model of great information without hype. Coolish ferment. (JH) 14%
ALVES DE SOUSA
Alves de Sousa, Reserva Pessoal Branco 2003 Vinho Regional Duriense 16.5 Drink 2009-2012
Gouveio, Malvasis Fina, Viosinho, etc. 24 hours on skins. Six months in French oak. Deep gold. Rich and spicy, apricots. Rich, savoury, oxidative style balanced by high acidity. Long. (JH) 13%
Alves de Sousa, Quinta das Caldas 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Port blend but mostly Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca. Three months in oak.
Deep purple/crimson. Warm, spicy plum fruit, a touch smoky. Sour-cherry freshness. Attractively fresh acidity. Lightly oaked, plenty of fruit spice. (JH) 14.5%
Alves de Sousa, Reserva Pessoal Tinto 2003 Douro 16.5 Drink 2008-2013
A blend of 20 different varieties. 18 months new oak.
Sweet, dark smoky plums, more sour cherry on the palate. Ripe but pretty grippy. Finishes warm and more velvety but a bit of heat at the very end. (JH) 14%
Aneto, Reserva 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2013
40% Sémillon, 30% Arinto, 20% Viosinho, 10% Gouveio.
Limey citrus with a touch of lanolin. Fresh, very zesty, tangy but not very Douro, though there's a nice stony finish. (JH) 13.5%
Aneto, Grande Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2012-2018
50% Touriga Nacional, 50% Tinta Roriz. Owned by winemaker at Zimbro. Aneto = dill. Dill flower on label. Lagar ferment and then aged in French and Hungarian oak.
Sweet and spicy on the nose. Rich fruit cake aromas but not overly raisined. Firm, dense and dry but still fluid on the palate. Savoury and firm on the palate. Confident and complete. Love those savoury, fresh mouth-coating tannins. (JH) 13.5%
QUINTA DAS APEGADAS
Quinta das Apegadas, Apegadas Quinta Velha Grande Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
85% Touriga Nacional, 12% Touriga Franca, 3% Tinta Barroca. Cima Corgo, Antonio Amorim. Winemaker Rui Cunha. 16 months in French oak.
Spiced dark fruit, ripe but not baked. Hint of violets. Rich, smooth and dense but not heavy. Spicy fresh finish. Harmonious and zesty on the finish. Moreish. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta das Apegadas, Apegadas Quinta Velha 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional. Roasted aromas mixed with very ripe plums and damsons and sweet spice. Some elderberry sweet/sour fruit on the palate. Firm grip, savoury oaky aftertaste. Part aged 12 months in oak. A bit over-extracted on the finish. (JH) 13.5%
CAVES ARCOS DO REI
Caves Arcos do Rei, Vasco de Gama Reserva 2008 Douro ? Drink ??
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. Dark black cherry colour. Marked bretty note. And vanilla. (JH) 13.5%
Caves Arcos do Rei, Terras de Murça 2008 Douro 14 Drink 2011-2014
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional. Aged two years in tank, one month with oak chips.
Blackish crimson. Very ripe, verging on overripe dark fruit. Meaty on the palate and lacks freshness. (JH) 13.5%
Adega Aromática, Dois Lagares 2010 Douro 15 Drink 2013-2016
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca from Cima Corgo. Oaked.
Smoky, spicy oak dominates the nose at the moment. But there's some pure dark/savoury fruit on the mid palate. Tannins are smooth but overall a little bit lean and hard on the finish. (JH) 13.5%
Atalaya 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Sousão. 65% aged in French oak.
Very dark cherry colour. Black core. Fruit is intensely dark and sweet and has a note of something like eucalyptus. Roasted and toasty too. Generously flavoured. Very oaky and roasted on the palate, hiding the fruit. Just about fresh even though the pH is relatively low (3.47). RS 4.3 g/l. A bit aggressive on the finish though it started well. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DOS AVIGADOS
Quinta dos Avidagos, Quinta do Além Tanha Grande Reserva 2007 Douro 14.5 Drink 2010-2014
25% Touriga Nacional, 75% field blend. Beyond Tanha' - a river that flows into the Douro in Cima Corgo. 14 months in oak.
Ripe fruit but rather spirity on the nose. A bit hard even with RS 4 g/l. Real headache material. (JH) 15.5%
Quinta dos Avidagos, Avidagos 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2014
Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional. Cima Corgo for most of the vineyards and Baixo Corgo for the winery.
Black core. Gentle nose. Hint of burnt rubber on the palate but too slight to be objectionable. Balanced, fresh dark fruit and juicy, relatively soft finish. (JH) 13%
QUINTA DAS BAJANCAS
Quinta das Bajancas, Bajancas 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2015
Label pictures a stabbed gingerbread man. Another wine from Douro Family Estates. Winemakers 2PR.
Rich and spicy on the nose. Lighter and more juicy on the palate. Not a lot of flesh but plenty of freshness and not bad length. Chocolate-smooth tannins on the finish. (JH) 14%
BARÃO DE VILAR
Barão de Vilar, Grande Reserva 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2019
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and old-vine field blend. Alvaro van Zeller (Christian's cousin) is the winemaker. Douro Superior, also produce port wine. 18 months in new French oak.
Inky cassis colour. Fragrant but quite reticent on the nose. Gentle and inviting fresh dark fruit. Dry and powder-fine on the palate but lots of powder! Cool and extremely mineral. Withheld at the moment. Lean and dry and needs time to fill out but has very very fine bones. Need to come back to this one. Opens up to a little more smoky and coffee. Dark and a little unforgiving at the moment. Older vines mean that the Touriga is less strident. (JH) 14%
Barão de Vilar, ZOM 2008 Douro 14.5 Drink 2012-2015
Winemaker Álvaro van Zeller. Fragrant, lightly floral alongside sweet damson fruit. A little bitter/hard on the palate though the tannins are rounded. (JH) 13.5%
Brites Aguiar, Bafarela Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 16+ Drink 2013-2018
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. 12 months in 500-litre French oak.
A little bit reduced on the nose (touch of burnt rubber). Same on the palate. There's some fine dark fruit underneath so maybe just needs aeration? Quite savoury too and with juicy freshness. After some sloshing around, the fruit shows more clearly. Savoury, verging on bitter on the finish. But perhaps it just needs more air and time. (JH) 14.5%
Brites Aguiar, VT 2008 Douro 15 Drink 2012-2015
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. 12 months in 500-litre French oak .VT = Vinho Tinto.
Dark plums and a hint of smoke. Aggressive coffee flavour on the palate. A bit overworked so the finish is bitter, not helped by the alcohol. Lacks freshness. (JH) 15.5%
QUINTA DAS BRÔLHAS
Quinta das Brôlhas, Reserva 2008 Douro 16+ Drink 2012-2018
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca. Oenologist Virigílio Loureiro. 30-to 40-year-old vines.
Light toasty/spicy oak notes at first, then dark, slightly jammy, damson fruit emerging. Fine grained and powdery but pretty dry, austere tannin structure. Needs time. Even with the dryness of the tannins, it has a fluidity across the palate that lifts it and promises more. (JH) 14.3%
Quinta das Brôlhas, Grande Escolha 2007 Douro 16.5 Drink 2010-2013
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Sousão. 15 months in French oak. Burgundy bottle and lovely label.
Rich, ripe and perfumed. Riipe and damsony on the palate but nice freshness (pH 3.42) too. Very Douro without being OTT. Oenologist is Virgílio Loureiro. Maybe just a little watery on the finish. Baixo Corgo. (JH) 13.8%
Burmester, Casa Burmester Touriga Nacional 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2017
Sweet red fruits on the nose and a touch of vanilla. Very fresh, mouthwatering but also sweet red fruits on the palate. Three days pre-fermentation maceration. Long vatting. 12 months in new French oak. Full bodied, smooth, deep pile tannins. Just a little bit tart on the finish as if the acidity were not fully integrated. (JH) 14%
Calheiros Cruz, Grande Reserva 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2010-2015
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca. 3,700 bottles. Very nice embossed label. Winemaker Anselmo Mendes (well known in Vinho Verde).
Deep crimson. Fragrant with bergamot and a hint of smoky lapsang and fresh blackberries. Then more savoury on the palate. Very fluid tannins, fresh, moderate but elegant length. Refined and harmonious. Alcohol doesn't show, nor does the new French oak (too much). (JH) 15.5%
QUINTA DA CANAMEIRA
Quinta da Canameira, Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and 10% old vines. Dark and coaly with a nice savoury finish. Firm but rounded and a touch bitter on the finish - still fresh. (JH) 16%
QUINTA DA CASA AMARELA
Quinta da Casa Amarela, Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
50% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Nacional. 16 months in new French oak. Dedicated to grandfather Elisio.
Blueberry-sweet aroma. Them more savoury and tarry on the palate. Dense but fresh. Well rounded. Big but not brash. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta da Casa Amarela, Reserva 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2016
80% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Roriz, 10% Touriga Nacional. Bais Corgo. French winemaker Jean Hugues Gros. New French oak.
Black cherry colour. Soft, generous but still fresh and lively. Aromatic red fruit. Quite light/elegant in the middle. (JH) 14%
CASA DE CAMBRES
Casa de Cambres, Reserva 2011 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2013
Arinto (20%), Viosinho (40%), Rabigato (40%). Winemaker Osvaldo Amado. Fermented at 15 ºC. 20% of the wine finished the alcoholic fermentation in barrels of French oak. pH 3.15.
Very pale. Fresh, grassy citrus aroma. Much more pear flavour on the palate and richer than I expected with an attractivley fine-grained texture, again like pears. Clean and refreshing and lively. No real oak flavour but there's some creamy depth that balances well with the freshness. Clean and modern but far from soulless thanks to these Portuguese varieties. (JH) 13%
Casa de Cambres, Reserva 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2015
Touriga Nacional (20%), Touriga Franca (40%), Tinta Roriz (40%). Long maceration, fermented in stainless steel at 28 ºC. Six months in French oak. Winemaker Osvaldo Amado.
Black cherry colour. Lively dark fruit, slightly peppery. Rich, sweet fruit at just the right level of ripeness to give roundness but nothing porty. Oak is present but restrained and there's a lovely mouthwatering finish. Fine tannins in proportion to the fruit still offer some resistance but are fine grained. (JH) 13.5%
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), Planalto Reserva 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2012
Fresh and a little grassy. Lively and lightish. Not sure it is Reserva depth but clean and bright and refreshing. (JH)
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), Planalto Reserva 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2012
Mostly Viosinho, Arinto, Códega de Larinho, Malvasia Fina. 1.5 m bottles produced. Made in Vila Real from bought-in grapes grown at 500-600 m. Fermented cool in inox.
Delicate, fresh lemon nose. Very dry and very crisp. Not a huge amount of fruit flavour on the palate, mostly citrus. Refreshing and a nice stony aftertaste. (JH) 12.5%
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), Vinha Grande 2010 Douro 16+ Drink 2011-2013
Viosinho, Arinto, Gouveio. 90,000 bottles. Grown at 600 m. Fermentation starts in inox and 60% finishes in new French oak, six months with bâtonnage.
Gently creamy, leesy nose. Citrus and pear fruit. Good creamy texture but with bright citrus fruit through the middle. Fresh natural acid and good length. Very crisp clean finish with oak adding depth. (JH) 13%
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), Esteva 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2015
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and some Touriga Nacional. Esteva is the name of a bush that grows wild in the Douro. Vinified in Quinta da Seixo. Some local bought-in grapes (75%) grown at 400–500 m. Fermented in inox.
Deep purple crimson. Lovely rich dark fruit aroma – plum and black cherry and smooth tannins. Frist vintage was 1984 and it's still showing welll. Fresh and juicy but generous for an entry level wine. Moderate length. Easy but not simple. Just a slight chew on the finish so would be good with food. (JH) 13%
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), Vinha Grande 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz. Bottled but not yet available. Blended across regions. Everyday wine but also ageing capacity. 12 months in used oak.
Elderberry juice colour. Touch of sweet oak spice but mostly it is the dark fruit that shows. Pure damson and just a hint of blueberry sweetness. Fine grained, dry and fresh. Rounded now but well built. Nice chew on the finish but freshness keeps the elegance. Very moreish and mineral at the end. (JH) 13.5%
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), Quinta da Leda 2009 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2013-2020
Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. Fruit from Leda. 25% new oak. Malo in barrel.
Black inky core. Intense sweet dark fruit but also has the Touriga Nacional fragrance in restrained measure. Now has quite a bit of oak spice but not OTT. Touch of coconut. Fresh and sweet on the mid palate but finishes dry. Dense and attractively chewy. Modern but still Douro with that slight minerality on the finish. Density and freshness well married. (JH) 14.5%
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), Quinta da Leda 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
Deep dark crimson. Dark fruits with a herbal note. Plenty of oak spice on the palate. Smooth but dense tannins well filled out by the fruit. Juicy and moreish and good length. Polished tannins so you don't notice the firmness of structure. Well made. (JH) 13.5%
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), AAF, Antónia Adelaide Ferreira 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2022
57% Touriga Nacional, 20% mixed centenarian vines, 20% Touriga Franca and Sousão. 200th anniversary of AAF's birth. About to be released. 3,500 bottles. Produced at Leda. Two years in French oak, 10% new. MLF in barrel. Best grapes from all the estates.
Inky black cherry colour. Intense sweet dark fruit with a touch of spice but also a slight dusty/mineral overlay and Touriga Nacional fragrance. Lovely fine fresh tannins and acidity. 2008 good tannins and acidity combo. Cold year with long maturation. pH 3.5. Restrained but rich and full bodied with no excess weight. Even though there is a firm grip, it slides across the palate and finishes lovely and dry. Fab tannins. Concentrated without over-sweetness. (JH) 14%
Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape), Reserva Especial 2003 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2018
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca. Douro Especial made in those years when Barca Velha is not made. Burgundy shaped bottle. Vinified at Quinta da Leda. Some grapes bought from vineyards at 500–600 m in Douro Superior. 15% from higher altitude to give acidity, especially for ageing. 50% new oak. Malo in barrel but never in new oak because it takes too much oak flavour.
Deep garnet. Sweet and almost overripe fruit-cake fruit. But fresher in the mouth. Fine-grained and balanced but that fruit is overripe on the nose. Some southern Rhône character. Reflects the vintage. Some beginning notes of undergrowth and fresh finish. Very long. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DA CASSA
Quinta da Cassa, Reserva 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2014
Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional. pH 3.52. 50% aged in American oak.
Sweetness of both fruit and oak on the nose. American oak in evidence - touch of mocha sweetness. But flat on the palate. Fine, lightish (for Douro) tannins but a bit drying on the finish. Like the Fafide, lacks flesh in the middle. (JH) 14%
Castello d'Alba, Unoaked Touriga Nacional 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2013
Upper Douro, with vineyards at least 300 metres above sea level, packaged with recycled glass and paper.
Deep inky ruby. Spicy, fragrant and warm smelling. Fresh with dark cherry fruit and really nice to have an unoaked Touriga. Slight bitterness on the finish. GV (JH) 13%
Castello d'Alba, Vinhas Velhas Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 16- Drink 2013-2017
Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Sousão. Wax seal, heavy bottle. From old vines. 18 months in new and used French oak.
Very dark with black cherry rim. Sweet fruit-cake fruit and spice. Ripe but not OTT. Oaky and firm on the palate but fresh too. Lively but a slight clash of acidity and extracted tannins on the finish makes it a tad hard and bitter at the end. Added acidity? RS 3.2 g/l. (JH) 14%
Caves Velhas, Topázio 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca. Bright dark crimson. Spicy red-cherry fruit and a light herbal note. Lively, fresh and moreish, lighter than I expected from the blend but balanced with good length. GV if it really is less than €4. Well packaged too. (JH)
Caves Velhas, Alma Grande Reserva Touriga Nacional 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2016
An Enoport wine. Fermented in lagares, nine months in French oak.
Rich and dark with a balsam note. Dark on the palate too, fine grained, generous fruit balanced by the rounded tannins and a juicy finish. (JH) 13.5%
Chryseia 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2017
Prats and Symington. 70% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca. 13 months in 400-litre new French oak.
Deep black cherry colour. Bags of sweet dark fruit and a lightly minty note, plus a touch of orange and raisin and dark chocolate. Fragrant and surprisingly gentle. Smooth and relatively soft tannins even now. Mix of sweet oak spice and sour cherry on the finish. Long and surprisingly gentle and some oak spice on the finish. (JH) 14%
Chryseia 2009 Douro 17+ Drink 2013-2020
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca. Tank sample. Prats and Symington families. Grapes from Quinta Roriz and Quinta da Perdiz. 13 months in new 400-litre French oak.
Deeply coloured, fragrant blackberry freshness, almost a hint of red fruit. Creamy, spiced but fresh on the palate. Less savoury and dark than the Post Scriptum. More elegant and silky than the PS. (JH) 14.4%
Chryseia 2006 Douro 16.5 Drink 2010-2016
60% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca. Prats and Symington. 13 months in 400-litre new French oak.
Deep crimson. Smells different from the 2004 and the 2009. Something unusual, a bit like tamarind at first or meat extract, though with aeration there's more spice and dark frut and vaguely floral. That same flavour on the palate. I find it more confusing than complex. (JH) 14%
Chryseia 2004 Douro 17 Drink 2009-2015
Prats and Symington. 70% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca. 13 months in 400-litre new French oak.
Very interesting to compare the 2004 with the 2009. Fruit is still very sweet and dominant on the nose and it has that same slightly minty note of the 2009 and some slight strange (wood-derived) flavour rather like tamarind. Difficult to describe on the palate, there's a strong fruit sweetness but also the merest hint of something more meaty. Surprisingly little develoment after five years in bottle though the tannins are now fully resolved. Just fresh enough. I think there's just too much wood flavour on all three vintages tasted. (JH) 14%
Chryseia, Post Scriptum 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2013-2020
41% Touriga Nacional, 36% Touriga Franca, 14% Tinta Roriz, 9% Tinta Barroca. Prats and Symington families. Grapes from Quinta Roriz and Quinta da Perdiz. 10 months in 400-litre French oak.
Deeply coloured with black cherry rim. Very ripe but in a savoury baked and almost raisiny style. Warm wheat. Savoury tar/coal notes and some suggestion that Touriga's perfume is lurking underneath. Dark plums and cherries in the mouth but again that savoury overlay. Powerful but not aggressive or heavy. Dense but not drying. Firm and smooth and long. Alcohol is reasonable and well integrated. Long and complete. Dark chocolate on the finish. Just fresh enough. (JH) 14.1%
Chryseia, Post Scriptum 2008 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2011-2018
Elegant dark fruit aromas with cedary oak overlay on the ripe spicy, damson fruit. Dense, sweet and sour, chewy and pretty long. Lacks charm. Almost a little bitter on the finish, though I think it will improve a great deal with more time in bottle. (JH) 13.5%
QUINTA DE CIDRÔ
Quinta de Cidrô Alvarinho 2010 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2011-2014
Cima Corgo. Winemaker Jorge Moureira. No oak.
Pale gold - surprisingly dark. Intense and spicy even though there's no oak. Orange and apricot, touch of smoke (slightly reductive?) and minerality. Dry, grapefruit and mineral on the palate - ie much more linear than the nose. Taut, fresh, powerful. (JH) 14.5%
Conceito 2009 Douro 16+ Drink 2012-2015
Rabigato, Códega do Larinho, Códega, Viosinho, Gouveio. Douro Superior. Barrel fermented and part barrel aged.
Very cedary nose and very oaky on the palate. Lots of spice. Creamy lees texture. Under all that oak there's fresh and pure fruit but it is hidden at the moment at least. (JH) 13.5%
Conceito 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
Field blend of 20 varieties. Inky dark cherry colour. Dark smoky oak and sweet blueberry fruit. Thick smooth tannins, some Touriga Nacional perfume and lots of chew on the finish. Well balanced and finishes nicely dry and surprisingly juicy given the density of tannin. (JH) 15%
Conceito Bastardo 2009 Vinho Regional Duriense 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
Bastardo. 24 hours on skins. Douro Superior.
For the Douro, looks more like a rosé, though it is deeper red than that. I love the nose: wild strawberries, herbs and Victoria plums. Really spicy on the palate and just so wild and fearless. Fresh acidity and tannin and long spicy finish. Great with the food. (JH) 13.5%
Conceito Bastardo 2009 Vinho Regional Duriense 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
Very modern label and young female oenologist. From Douro Superior.
Very light crimson, more like a rosé. Sweet strawberry fruit and a touch of spice, then quite sweet/sour on the palate, Would be great with really fatty food. Spicy and long for such a medium-bodied wine. Very distinctive. Very Trousseau, for this it is. (NB subsequent tastings more disappointing.) (JH) 13%
Coroa d'Ouro 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2010-2014
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca.
Bright greyish crimson. Baked, slightly roasted aroma but relatively closed. Light but juicy on the palate. Fresh but unexceptional. No oak. Easy and avoids unnecessary sweetness. (JH) 13.04%
QUINTA DE COTTAS
Quinta de Cottas, Cottas Reserva 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2014
Viosinho, Rabigato, Arinto, Códgea do Larinho. Pale gold. Very fragrant - blossom, creamy lemon, apricot, touch of spiced honey. Savoury/sour oak flavour hits first, then the citrus comes in behind. Starts fermentation in steel before finishing in new barrels. Lees stirring. Rather sour finish. Cool and fresh but finishes a bit light after the intensity of aroma. (JH) 13%
Quinta de Cottas, Cottas Reserva 2009 Douro 16- Drink 2013-2018
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. Long maceration, 10 months in new French oak.
Sweetish blueberry aroma. Then a bit tough on the palate, maybe that vatting was just too long. Thick tannins. Just about fresh. A bit hard at the end though there's sweet fruit in the middle. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DO CÔTTO
Quinta do Côtto, Grande Escolha 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2018
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and old vines. Cima Corgo. Foot trodden, eight months in French oak.
Lovely fragrant nose, gentle red fruit, light spice, and that lovely hint of bergamot again. Lively and very fresh. Fine and dry and elegant. Has slightly less of the roasted edge of the 2005. Juicy and bright but not quite as complex as the 2005, and tannins are a little softer and sweeter. (JH) 13.5%
Quinta do Côtto, Grande Escolha 2007 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2014
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sousão. First wine with screwcap and they lost sales because of that. No longer called Quinta so not all grapes from the estate. Long vatting, 14 months in new French oak.
Black core, prunes and very ripe damsons on the nose. Fruit and acidity don't seem fully integrated so there's a slight tartness on the finish. But it is taut and zesty and the tannins are rounded though firm. And there's a suppleness on the very end. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Côtto 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2013
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Sousão. Deep ruby. Rich, savoury but still with plenty of dark fruit on the nose and a mineral note. Dense, pretty oaky, that oak adding sweetness and spice but just a little too much, at the moment at least. Firm but rounded tannins. (JH) 13%
Quinta do Côtto 2009 Douro 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Sousão. 40% aged in Portuguese oak.
Slightly unusual oaky spice aroma, hint of coffee and then pretty savoury. Rather drying on the palate, fruit not easy to find. Very dry finish. (JH) 13%
QUINTA DO COUQUINHO
Quinta do Couquinho, Encostas do Gavião 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2013
Touriga Nacional mainly, plus Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca. Mid crimson. Rather a strange aroma that reminds me of vitamin tablets. Dusty and mineral but not evidently fruity on the nose. Then a mix of savoury and dark fruit on the palate. Fresh, with a gentle grip. Sound but not terribly exciting. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Couquinho, Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2012-2015
80% Touriga Nacional. 60,000 bottles. Half goes in used oak.
Fresh, dark and spicy with a lighter fruit overlay. Juicy and very fresh and lively. Aim is to show the terroir without new oak. Warm on the nose and quite alcoholic – warm on the finish as suits the region. 'Heat is part of the terroir.' GV (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Couquinho, Grande Reserva 2007 Douro 16.5 Drink 2013-2018
Douro Superior. Deepest black cherry colour. Intense dark fruit and spice on the nose. Figgy but not raisined. Dark and oaky on the palate, with a slight charred oak flavour, especially on the finish. Even with all that oak, there is an attractive freshness though slightly drying tannins. Alcohol shows a little on the finish. Needs more time for the oak to die back. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Couquinho 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2014
Touriga Nacional interplanted and includes some of the newer vines. 5,000 bottles. No Reserva in a vintage when they make a Grande Reserva. The best parcels of vines. 100% new oak (three years' outdoor seasoning).
Fine Touriga perfume. Dark blackberry fruit, ripe but not too sweet and a touch mineral on the finish. Generous but not fat. Oak is surprisingly in the background on the nose. More evident on the palate but really has that rounded sweetness the French call 'sucrosité'. Tannins are more dense and nicely savoury but very rounded. Still has some spice but perhaps more oak spice this time. Warm but not massive. Just fresh enough. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DO CRASTO
Quinta do Crasto, Crasto 2011 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2012-2014
Gouveio, Roupeiro, Rabigato. Cool ferment in inox.
Smoky and a touch reductive. Still has nice stony pear aromas. Dry, taut and fresh but with a creamy richness balancing the palate. Lovely pure fruit without any oak interference. Even a touch floral (acacia?) on the mid palate. I love its unoakedness. (JH)
Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
18 months in French oak, bottled June 2011.
Very dark black cherry. Fragrant with all those classic Touriga Nacional aromas of bergamot and orange and violets, with a touch of vanilla and oak spice. Lovely supple texture already, with freshness on the finish. Lively and rich with strong chocolate/oak aftertaste. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Crasto, Crasto Tinta Roriz 2009 Douro 17- Drink 2014-2020
Very smart black and gold labels. Very dark core with purple rim. Pretty oaky on the nose - spice and cinnamon and vanilla. And a sweet wheaty smell like those muscle relaxants you put in the microwave. Under that is rich, ripe damson fruit. Toasty sweet oak and sweet fruit. In fact it's all a bit too sweet for me though it’s a natural not a confected sweetness. 16 months in new French oak. There's obviously great fruit under there but I'd like to taste it in a few years. I am not sure about the oak, hence the minus, though I may just be overly sceptical that it will die back. Needs time to lose the oak coat. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Crasto, Crasto Superior 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Sousão. 12 months in French oak.
Deep black cherry colour. More red fruit than black on the nose and a light Douro dustiness. Fresh acidity but very sweet fruit flvaours on the palate. Dry, dense but smooth tannins, a little bit of heat on the finish. Oak is present but not overwhelming so that the finish is fresh and juicy. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Crasto, Vinha Maria Teresa 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2019
Field blend of vines nearly 100 years old. 20 months in French and American oak, unfiltered.
Dark greyish black cherry colour. Distinctive aroma of small wild berries, some red fruit too, though there's plenty of oak sweetness again and a touch of vanilla. Plums and damsons on the palate. Nice mineral note but not enough savoury character to balance all the sweetness of fruit and oak. Fine-grained and supple but again that finish is so sweet and you do just feel the alcohol on the finish. American oak seems to make too much of a mark. Chocolate-like aftertaste. (JH) 15%
Quinta do Crasto, Reserva Vinhas Velhas 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2019
70-year-old field blend. 16 months in French and American oak.
Dark ruby. Restrained and dusty on the nose, dark fruit. Juicy and super-smooth but finishes a little too sweet-tasting for my palate, with the oak the strongest aftertaste. Although it is well structured, there's lots of easy pleasure and the lightweight concentration of old vines. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Crasto, Reserva Vinhas Velhas 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2020
Old vines (25-30 varieties). Dark black cherry colour. Basket pressed. 16 months in French barriques. Damsons and blueberries on the nose and oak spice. Richly flavoured but surprisingly elegant on the palate. Old vine syndrome. Juicy and almost a red-fruited sweetness on the palate but also finishes fresh. (JH) 14.5%
Dalva, Reserva 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2013
Malvasia Fina, Códega, Viosinho. Bottled Oct 2011. Eight months in meias pipas (300-litre oak).
Lightly smoky/mineral lemon aroma. Slight grip and a little bit flat on the mid palate, though it finishes fresher and more lively with a creamy citrus aftertaste. (JH) 12.5%
Dalva, Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2013-2019
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. Cask sample. 18 months in new French 600-litre oak.
Dark elderberry colour. Even has that sweet/sour elderberry aroma. Pure dark fruit then some violet flavour on the palate. Smooth, dense, well-managed tannins. Much more savoury on the finish but fluid too. Harmonious whole with a promising future. Finish is more structure than flavour but it is fine-tuned to the whole. (JH) 14%
Dão Sul, Palestra 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2010-2013
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca. Lively, bright and fresh. Not a great deal of length or depth but very gluggable and juicy. Light but sufficient tannin structure and fresh on the finish. Would be delighted with this by the glass in a pub or bar. Alcohol well controlled too. (JH) 13%
Delaforce Touriga Nacional 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2013-2019
12 months in French oak, unfiltered. Very deeply coloured. Dark, spiced plums and some exotic spice and just a touch tarry giving it a savoury character. Fine, dry texture. Full but upright in structure and fresh tangy finish. Acidity seems not fully integrated (yet)? (JH) 14.5%
D F J VINHOS
DFJ Vinhos, Escada 2007 Douro 16- Drink 2009-2013
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. 30 days' post fermentation maceration. Nine months in French oak. pH 3.55.
Black cherry colour. Unusual nose: dark fruit, but also herbal and a little balsamic. Then relatively light on the palate and tannins are smooth. Slightly drying overall. (JH) 13%
DFJ Vinhos, Escada 2007 Douro 16 Drink 2010-2014
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional. Vines 80-100 years old. Nine months in French oak.
Mid crimson. Gentle, spicy, sweet dark fruit. Slight chew still on the tannins but rounded out and smooth. Attractive freshness to balance the warmth on the palate. Just ready for drinking now but still has a future. (JH) 13%
DOURO FAMILY ESTATES
Douro Family Estates, DFE Signature 2009 Douro 15.5+ Drink 2013-2018
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. Deeply coloured. Gently aromatic black fruit. Very dark and savoury - almost salty on the palate. 18 months in new 500-litre French oak. Long total vatting. Freshness but seems a little over-extracted but the tannins are not aggressive even though they are firm and as yet unresolved. (JH) 14.5%
Douro Family Estates, DFE Premium 2007 Douro 16 Drink 2010-2014
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. 48 hours' pre-ferment maceration. 12 months in 500-litre French oak.
Dark, greyish crimson. Sweet wild strawberries on the nose giving way to a darker ripeness with a touch of tar and roasted potato skins. Quite savoury on the palate. Then surprisingly soft. Just fresh. Unexceptional. (JH) 14.5%
Douro Prime, Inquieto Touriga Nacional 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
Inquieto = not quiet. Cima Corgo and Douro Superior.
Very dark with black core. Intense Touriga Nacional aromas - bergamot, violets and lots of toasty oak too. Then surprisingly dry and fine on the palate, real elegance after such intense aromas. Finishes sweet but dry. A bit flashy but lots of flavour. (JH) 14.5%
Douro Prime, Inquieto Reserva 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Sousão. Six months in French oak.
Very dark. Attractive dark plum aromas, no raisining but some sweet spice. More sweet oak spice on the palate, velvety tannins and just fresh. (I thought it might be fresher with the Sousão component.) Sweet and gentle though there's plenty of tannic structure, very rounded. I preferred their Touriga Nacional. (JH) 14.5%
Duorum, Tons de Duorum 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2012
30% Viosinho, 30% Rabigato, 20% Verdelho, 20% Arinto. Cold pre-fermentation maceration.
Strongly aromatic. Herbal and grassy and intensely refreshing. Vibrant but also surprisingly rich. Modern but characterful. Quite Albariño-like and orangey on the palate. Tingly aftertaste. GV (JH) 13%
Duorum, Tons de Duorum 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2012
Partnership between João Ramos and winemaker José Maria Soares Franco in the Douro Superior.
Black cherry colour. Lively, raspberry and blackberry fruit. Appealingly fruity and also has the Touriga perfume. Just a hint of cough linctus. Fresh, light and fine tannins. Fresh and straightforward but really nicely constructed for entry-level Douro. (JH) 13.5%
Duorum, Tons de Duorum 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2014
50% Touriga Franca, 30% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinta Roriz. Planted on schist. Aged six months in used oak. (RS > 4 g/l.)
Black cherry colour. Sweetness of oak and the floral edge of Touriga Nacional give the first fragrant impressions. Definite dusty mineral note too and black fruit but not cassis. Acidity quite marked - sticks out a bit against the sweetness of the fruit. Richly fruity and moreish. Immediate pleasure, rounded but present tannins and respectable length. GV (JH) 13%
Duorum 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2017
Old vines and interplanted. Attractive, lightly fragrant dark fruit and an appealing dustiness over the top. Sweet oak spice but has that darker savoury edge of the Douro. Finely balanced. Fresh. Dry tannins. Refined and will be even better when the oak has subsided further. Nice dry finish. (JH) 13.5%
Duorum 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
40% Touriga Franca, 40% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinta Roriz. Six to ten months in mainly used French but also some American oak.
Inky dark core. Roasted but fresh dark fruit, not at all raisined. Juicy and fresh and lively. Gentle (for the Douro) tannins. Easy and likeable and already harmonious. Doesn't have great concentration but it has moderate length. (JH) 13.5%
Duorum 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Deeper and richer than the Tons. Darker, more peppery and a little more meaty but has that slight cough linctus character and the same super-fine tannins, though denser overall. Lively, fresh and GV. (JH) 13.5%
Duorum, Vinhas Velhas Reserva 2009 Douro 16? Drink 2013-2020
Field blend but mainly Touriga Nacional (45%), Touriga Franca (45%), Tinta Roriz and Sousão. JV of JP Ramos and José Maria Soares Franca (ex Barca Velha). 18 months in 225- and 300-litre French oak, 70% new.
Inky core. First bottle corked, 2nd bottle: clean dark fruit on the nose, some vanilla sweetness. Quite dry on the palate and a little bit tough. (JH) 14%
Durham Agrellos, Marka 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2013
55% Touriga Franca, 40% Tinta Roriz, 5% Touriga Nacional. 40% aged in French oak.
Black cherry colour. Fresh pure damson aroma. Lively, bright and juicy even though there's some firm tannins on the finish. Well balanced and not trying too hard. (JH) 13.5%
Durham Agrellos, Marka Reserva 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2015
55% Touriga Nacional, 35% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Barroca.
Sweet spice and vanilla oak aromas. Same on the palate and slightly lacking flesh. Lean in the middle with dusty tannins. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DA FAFIDE
Quinta de Fafide, Reserva 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2012-2016
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional. Douro Superior. Winemaker Rui Madeira is from VDS. Father is owner of Carma.
Attractive modern wine. Slight medicinal (reductive?) note to the dark fruit. Dry, taut, fresh, a bit lean/austere. Tannins are fine but grip is slightly dry at the end. Acidity (pH 3.55) seems to have hardened the tannins rather than added freshness. (JH) 14%
ADEGA DE FAVAIOS
Adega de Favaios, Moscatel 10 Anos 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
100% Moscatel Galego. RS 149 g/l. pH 3.46. Fermentation with intensive skin contact. Brandy added after three days.
Deep orangey gold, deep amber. Intense bitter orange and roasted apricots and barley sugar. Tangy, fresh and full of flavour. Lots of spice on the palate. Would be lovely with hard cheese. Or with crème brûlée or egg-based desserts. (JH) 17.3%
QUINTA DA FONTE NOVA
Quinta da Fonte Nova, Chamadouro Reserva 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2015
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, Sousão. Cima Corgo but close to Douro Superior. Winemaker Luis Rodrigues (Poças port winemaker too). Foot trodden, 12 months in oak.
Deep crimson. Dark fruit, almost cassis and a little cedary. Hint of Bordeaux! Cedary on the palate too, fresh and lively but perhaps just slightly lean and tannins dry on the finish. (JH) 13.5%
QUINTA DA FRONTEIRA
Quinta da Fronteira, Grande Escolha 2009 Douro 16- Drink 2012-2016
A Companhia das Quintas wine. 60% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca.
18 months in French oak and feels like chewing a barrel. Pure dark cherry fruit with a rather odd aroma of oatmeal at first. Oaky, dense, exaggerated. Still has that chocolate overlay. But really is overwhelmed by the oak. (JH) 15%
Quinta da Fronteira, Reserva 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2015
A Companhia das Quintas wine. 60% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz. 12 months in French oak.
Colour of elderberry juice. Smells very sweet and strongly floral. Cherry chocolate. Masses of chocolate on the finish. Dense and quite firm, delicious in a very chocolatey sort of way. Quite fresh but the cherry chocolate wins! (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DA GAIVOSA
Quinta da Gaivosa, Branco da Gaivosa Reserva 2010 Douro 17.5 Drink 2013-2018
Malvasia Fina, Arinto, Gouveio. Horrible heavy bottle.
A tad reductive. Oaky, creamy rich and ripe yet the fruit aromas are still so pure - citrus and clementine and less than ripe pineapple and a touch of resin from the Malvasia. Spicy overlay doesn't overpower that fruit concentration. Creamy texture and full body but still fresh even with a lightly oily spice character on the finish. There is a slight hole in the middle that makes me prefer the 2008. (JH) 13.5%
Quinta da Gaivosa, Branco da Gaivosa Reserva 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2012-2015
Malvasia Fina, Arinto, Gouveio. Relatively deep gold. Intense aroma that combines savoury, almost oily oak notes and rich, ripe citrus and more delicate floral and mineral notes - real complexity. Utterly inviting. The palate is a similarly rich blend of ripe, bright fruit, creamy and savoury texture and flavour. Fills the mouth and yet finishes fresh, thanks to the Arinto, I imagine. Satisfying and long. It may well age a good deal longer but I haven't tasted older vintages to be able to judge with any certainty. (JH) 13.5%
Quinta da Gaivosa, Alves de Sousa Reserva Pessoal 2005 Douro 18 Drink 2010-2020
80-year-old field blend of 20 varieties including Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela, Touriga Nacional. 12 months in French oak and 12 months in bottle before release.
Youthful bright but deep crimson. Just the most amazing aromas: there's cherry and orange and the merest hint of leather and spice. Lifted without being in the least volatile. Dry but silky smooth tannins. Glides across the palate like a practised dancer. Effortless complexity and elegance and all the while both gentle and fresh with a fine dry finish. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta da Gaivosa, Abandonado 2009 Douro 18 Drink 2014-2024
Field blend of Tinta Amarela, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, etc. 80-year-old vines grown at the highest point on the estate. 18 months in new French oak. Unnecessarily heavy bottle.
Blackish dark crimson. Wonderfully fragrant and lifted wild fruits and a marked thyme aroma. Dense and savoury on the palate but not heavy, counterbalanced by some oak sweetness. Effortless concentration and even with all that tannin, still glides across the palate. Pretty oaky now but at least the oak adds dark savour rather than sweetness. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta da Gaivosa, Vinha de Lordelo 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2012-2019
Sousão, Tinta Amarela, Touriga Nacional and others. Oldest vines on the Quinta - nearly 100 years. Approx 10 hl/ha. 12 months in new French oak, 12 months in bottle.
Glowing crimson. Rich on the nose and a little more aromatic and sweeter-smelling than the Gaivosa red - oak sweetness more in evidence in this younger wine. Purity of cherry fruit. Succulent, rich and cashmere soft even though it has that density of old vines to give it shape and freshness and a slight cherry bite on the finish and just very slightly chewy still. Aromatic and very gently floral on the mid palate. Refined and long. What appears to be effortless concentration. (JH) 15.5%
Quinta da Gaivosa 2008 Douro 17.5 Drink 2011-2018
80-year-old field blend of more than 20 varieties.
Deep ruby. Subtle, savoury, both red fruits and dark plum notes but not overly sweet on the nose, lightly aromatic. A touch of pepper and spice. Deliciously fresh and intense and beautifully melded on the palate so that it is hard to pick out individual flavours. Rich, dense and smooth but still has energy and fine structure. Fresh and moreish with a fresh sour-cherry bite on the long minerally finish. (JH) 14.5%
Grambeira 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2013
Códega de Larinho, Rabigato, Viosinho. From the Douro Superior, granite soils.
Rich and aromatic: citrus, not quite apricot, stony. Taut, pure and very fresh. Bright, techncial and hint of boiled sweets on the finish. (JH) 13%
MANUEL PINTO HESPANHOL
Manuel Pinto Hespanhol, Calcos do Tanha Tinta Barroca 2001 Douro 15.5 Drink 2006-??
Deep garnet with browning rim. Very little on the nose at first, just a hint of undergrowth and coffee though with air it becomes more meaty and aged. Tannins and acidity both still staking their claim to this wine, and there's not really the fruit to balance. Lacks charm. Thickly textured and dry on the finish. (JH) 14.5%
Manuel Pinto Hespanhol, Calcos do Tanha Touriga Nacional 2001 Douro 15.5 Drink 2007-2013
Deep garnet. Smells a good deal younger than the Tinta Barroca, with more sweet fruit in evidence on the nose though there are also meaty and cedary notes. More sweet fruit depth on the mid palate, smoothed tannins and still surprisingly dense from start to finish. Very meaty though I don't think it is brett. (JH) 14.5%
Manuel Pinto Hespanhol, Calcos do Tanha Reserva 2000 Douro 16 Drink 2005-2014
Deep, mature garnet colour. Lifted, autumnal; slight note of furniture polish but also dark jammy fruit and vanilla creating a generally youthful impression. Firm tannins, just slightly chewy still. Fruit and spice to a longish but leathery finish. (JH) 13.5%
Manuel Pinto Hespanhol, Calcos do Tanha Touriga Francesa 1999 Douro 14.5 Drink 2004-2014
In Baixo Corgo. Winemaker Rui Cunha. Variety now called Touriga Franca.
Deep garnet with very little brick. Slightly gamey/meaty and bloody on the nose, lifted, perhaps a touch of brett, but there's still the remains of dark fruit layered underneath. Sweet and juicy on the palate, with a strong bloody, almost metallic (iron in the blood) overlay. I had to reduce my score because the brett just got worse as the wine opened up. (JH) 13%
QUINTA DO INFANTADO
Quinta do Infantado, Reserva 2009 Douro 17++ Drink 2014-2023
Cima Corgo. Part destemmed. Aged partly in tank and partly in oak of various ages.
Black as the ace of spades. Initially reduced but after sloshing it around: intense small dark berry fruit and some peppery spice. Taut, intense but not excess flesh. Muscular yet not brash. Firm, chewy, excellent concentration and freshness. Needs much more time and lots of air. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Infantado, Roseira 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2017
Cima Corgo. 14 months in assorted oak. Very dark with black cherry rim. Intense, complex and savoury on the nose. Rich, chocolate-smooth texture and flavour. Dry, tense and firm but not at all drying. Surprisingly juicy on the finish. Doesn't have the raw energy and power of the Reserva. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DO JUDEU
Quinta do Judeu 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2013
80-year-old field blend but mainly Malvasia Fina and Rabigato. One month in French oak.
Pale gold. Lightly spiced and slightly oily citrus but with a hint of something resinous/cedary. Odd on the palate, slightly bitter phenolic flavour and texture. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Judeu 2008 Douro 15 Drink 2012-2014
Cima Corgo. 10 months in French oak. Deep dark cherry colour. Lifted (?VA) fruit on the nose. A bit simple on the palate though finishes fresh. (JH) 14.1%
Kopke, Reserva 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2016
Viosinho, Arinto, Fogazão. Barrel fermented and aged in French oak barrels.
Lightly frragrant - lemon and apricot and a creamy edge which follows through on the palate, becoming a little more chalky. Then firm and a little spicy on the palate. A gentle phenolic grip, plenty of citrus freshness and good length. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DAS LAMELAS
Quinta das Lamelas, Grande Reserva 2005 Douro 15.5 Drink 2010-2013
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz. Baixo Corgo. 18 months in French oak.
Dark crimson with smudgy wide rim. Very ripe black damsons and a little tarry. Roasted prunes but more roasted than overripe. Dense and chewy even after six years. A little bit tough and roasted on the finish. Lots of flavour but not much charm. (JH) 13.7%
Quinta das Lamelas, Reserva 2007 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2010-2014
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. 12 months in French oak.
Attractively ripe nose enlivened by wild garrigue notes. Very slight meaty note but mostly red fruit. Wild strawberries on the palate and fresh acidity. Lively and a touch of mineral on the finish. Fine tannins with just a slight chew on the finish. Scented mid palate. (JH) 14%
LAVRADORES DE FEITORIA
Lavradores de Feitoria, Meruge 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2014
Viosinho. Aged in Portuguese oak. Creamy, leesy nose but not terribly aromatic, a note of green fruit and a touch of spice. Dry, lively but lacks something on the mid palate. But freshness picks up on the finish. A bit hollow in middle so the oak wins out on the finish. (JH) 12.5%
Lavradores de Feitoria, Meruge 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
100% Viosinho. Fermented in new Portugues oak barriques.
Pale gold. Attractive spicy, cedary, oily lemon, a bit like Alsace Pinot Gris on the nose but also slightly floral. Round, rich even with quite moderate alcohol but fresh on the finish. Spicy aftertaste. (JH) 12.5%
Lavradores de Feitoria 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2012
Very pale greenish gold. Creamy fresh quince and pear. Tight and lightly grained and very refreshing even though there's a creamy texture. Good intro to Douro white. (JH) 12.5%
Lavradores de Feitoria, Três Bagos 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2014
Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Gouveio. Intense grapefruit aroma but also just a little cedary, just slightly smoky. Sour, bright citrus on the palate. Tastes as if it has a touch of RS? Minerally citrus aftertaste and very refreshing and pure. Perhaps just a little watery on the finish. (JH) 12.5%
Lavradores de Feitoria, Três Bagos Grande Escolha 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2010-2014
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela. Joint venture between a group of producers. So this is the best wine of the combined quintas. Winemaker Paulo Ruão (ex Ramos Pinto). Fruit from Cima and Baixo Corgo.
Fresh but ripe, spicy red cherry fruit. Surprisingly lightweight and supple on the palate. Very fresh and quite delicate, maybe the old vines (60 years)? Dry but creamy tannins. (JH) 14%
Lavradores de Feitoria, Três Bagos 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca. Dark soft crimson. Gently sweet, pure fruited and just a touch savoury though there's also a slight note of baked rubber. Lively and fresh fruit on the palate. Much more accessible than many with lighter but still present tannins. A hint of bergamot too. Taut and zesty and lots of energy. Lovely and fresh on the finish. (JH) 14%
Lavradores de Feitoria, Meruge 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2015
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional. 15-producer co-operative with Dirk Niepoort.
Mid ruby, surprisingly developed colour. Sweet, spicy and delicately textured though the oak influence is also quite sweet. Silky and perfumed on the palate and very fresh. (JH) 14%
Lavradores de Feitoria 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2014
Douro varieties. Unoaked. Dark crimson. Bright, sweet cherry nose. A touch herbal. Lively, soft and gentle. Lovely easy drinking with the front at the fore, though the tannins play their part in the structure. Moderate length. Fresh on the finish and just slightly chewy. Quite playful. (JH) 13%
LEMOS & VAN ZELLER
Lemos & van Zeller, Curriculum Vitae 2005 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2019
Deep, dark crimson. Smells riper and darker than the Quinta do Vale Dona Maria 2005, veering towards tar and molasses though the freshness of dark fruit counteracts those sweet aromas. Maybe a touch medicinal, too, certainly complex. Dense and still quite a bit of sweet oak spice on the palate, only now dying back in favour of the fruit. Firm, dense tannins, dry minerally aftertaste. Only just ready now but with food, please. (JH) 14.5%
LUA CHEIA EM VINHAS VELHAS
Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas 2011 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2012-2015
Winemakers João Silva e Sousa and Francisco Baptista. Field blend. Unnecessary heavy bottle.
Lovely clarity in the aroma – grapefruit and ripe green fruit. Tastes dry but quite creamy. Peachy and some peach kernel bitterness adding freshness and length. Zesty but also has a long stony finish. (JH) 13%
Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas, Reserva 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2018
Winemakers João Silva e Sousa and Francisco Baptista. Field blend. Mainly Viosinho plus Rabigato, Arinto, Verdelho. Cask fermented. Lees stirring.
Gently toasty nose, with rich apricot fruit combined. Intense and inviting. Pretty oaky on the palate but also has that attractive cedary flacour so typical of Portuguese whites. Very good acidity to assure an interesting future, given the density of fruit without heaviness. Delicious in an oaky style. (JH) 13.5%
Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas, Andreza Grande Reserva 2010 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2014-2018
Recent project by João Silva e Sousa, Francisco Baptista and Manuel Dias. Grapes selected from growers who do not have the capacity to vinify their own wines. First vintage of this wine. Winemakers João Silva e Sousa and Francisco Baptista. Fermented in French oak, eight months on lees. Label doesn't mention the varieties but anticipates long ageing in bottle.
Very inviting creamy leesy citrus nose – oak evident but finely integrated just adding a slight smoky layer. Wonderful nose – both intense and elegant. The oak seems a little more heavy-handed on the palate, a little bit hard, but I think this just needs more time in the bottle. It will be interesting to see how this tastes tomorrow. (JH) 14%
Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas, Andreza Grande Reserva 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Arinto, Rabigato, Verdelho and old vines. From the Wine and Winemakers assocation of producers. 12 months pre-fermetation maceration. Finished fermetation in 300-litre French oak, 1/3 fermented with skin contact.
Pale citrus colour. Intense spiced citrus aroma with mineral and grapefruit notes. Cool, fresh and then a grapefruit pith sour freshness on the finish. Good length. (JH) 14%
Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas, Colleja 2011 Douro 15 Drink 2012-2014
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. 'Some barrel age'. Winemakers João Silva e Sousa and Francisco Baptista.
A little bit rubbery on the nose and very noticeable sweet oak on the palate. A clash of sweet fruit and oak that creates a harshness that leaves your mouth feeling like it needs water. I guess it may improve with a little more time in bottle. (JH) 14%
Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas, Andreza Reserva 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2013-2016
Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz. Half of the blend was aged in French and US oak. Winemakers João Silva e Sousa and Francisco Baptista.
Dark cherry colour. Spicy, almost savoury dark fruit with just a hint of vanilla sweetness. Lots of sweet fruit on the palate but there's a bitterness there too – not sure if it is overextraction of over-oaking and I am not sure it will dissipate as it ages. Dense, chewy but ripe tannins. Ambitious but maybe trying too hard. Much preferred the Andreza white Reserva. (JH) 14.5%
Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas, Andreza Reserva 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz. Four winemakers called Wine and Winemakers (company called Saven): Jaime Quendera, Anselmo Mendes, João Silva e Sousa and Frederico Falcão. This wine made by João Silva e Sousa and Francisco Baptista. 12 months in new French oak.
Rich blackberry and cassis aromas. Pure fruit with only a light coating of oak. Then much more savoury on the palate, more like elderberry. Fine tannins and surprisingly juicy on the finish. Well balanced and fluid, surprisingly approachable fine-grained tannins. (JH) 14%
Lua Nova, Em Vinhas Velhas 2010 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2012-2016
Field blend. Winemakers João Silva e Sousa and Francisco Baptista.
Deep, bright cherry red. Fragrant and mostly red fruited on the nose. Lithe and tight and has the effortless concentration of old vines. Tannins are fine grained and dry, the acidity fresh. Harmonious and long. (JH) 13.5%
QUINTA DE LUBAZIM
Quinta de Lubazim 2010 Douro 17.5 Drink 2015-2025
Douro Superior. Very dark with black core. Intense, vaguely medicinal black and red fruit. Pure and intense with the fruit easily dominating the oak. Really fine-grained tannins, remarkably supple already. Wonderfully dry, mineral flavour and texture. (JH) 14%
Quinta de Lubazim, Grande Reserva 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2017
Douro Superior. Dark black cherry colour. Ripe, slightly raisiny fruit, a touch volatile. Both very ripe and dark and savoury on the palate. Bags of flavour, moderate length. Tannins relatively soft. Sweet, slightly porty finish. (JH) 14%
Quinta de Lubazim, Grande Reserva 2007 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2015
Douro Superior. Aged in new French oak. Black cherry colour, black core. Sweet dark damson fruit, lifted aroma, a touch spirity. Sweetly oaky on the palate, vanilla and dark chocolate over that dark fruit. Soft and rounded, rich and comforting, marked oak flavour on the finish still. (JH) 13.5%
QUINTA DA MANUELA
Quinta da Manuela, Vinhas Velhas 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2013-2018
Centenarian vines, foot trodden. Winemakers Sandra Tavares da Silva and Jorge Serôdio Borges.
Rich ruby crimson. Fragrant red fruit, gently aromatic. Touch of wild herbs. Lovely fresh red fruit. Again effortless concentration. So elegant and yet full of lively fruit. Tannins need time but are super silky in the making. Currently quite chewy on the finish and very long with some sweet vanilla at the very end. Scented mid palate. Douro version of Pinot. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta da Manuela, Vinhas Velhas 2009 Douro 17.5++ Drink 2013-2020
In the Pinhão Valley. A property from Jorge Serôdio Borges's family. Vines more than 100 years old and a field blend of more than 20 varieties. 20 months in mostly new French barriques.
Gentle pure fruit, quite restrained but still fragrant and a little dusty/mineral and opens up to more floral overtones. Tannins are fine grained but very dry and need a lot more time in bottle (or a big steak). Even though there's this dry concentration, it still has a smoothness across the mid palate, lithe and waiting to come round. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta da Manuela 2001 Douro 16.5 Drink 2008-2015
Quite developed colour - looks a little older. Tastes a touch bit stemmy but still has lovely harmony and really smooth. Drinking very well now. GV (JH) 14.5%
ManzWine, Manz 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
50% Touriga Nacional, 50% Tinta Roriz. Aged 20 months in inox.
Deep red cherry colour. Intense, pure cherry aromas with delicate and spicy floral notes and a sour-cherry tanginess in the middle. Fruit is almost too intense on the palate, as if it had been concentrated in some way (though I am sure it hasn't.) But the fine grip and the acidity just keep the fruit under control. Then there's a nice savoury finish. Sweet, intense pure fruit. The aftertaste is a bit like having sucked a boiled sweet. (JH) 14.5%
ManzWine, Manz 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2015
50% Touriga Nacional, 50% Tinta Roriz. Producer of lots of organic products, not just wine. Wine is a more recent project. Unoaked.
Slightly baked Douro fruit on the nose, rich and full of pure dark fruit on the palate. Intense unadulterated fruit. Minerality comes through too. Dark and savoury on the finish and the tannins are smoothed. Long and just a hint of that baked fruit on the finish. (JH) 14.5%
Maritávora, Reserva 2009 Douro 15.5+ Drink 2012-2015
Códega do Larinho, Rabigato, Viosinho, etc. Centenarian vines.
Oily citrus aroma. A touch of spice. Quite oaky on the palate with some grapefruit pith asperity. pH 3.1. Fermented in new French oak. Very fresh but a little austere. (JH) 12.5%
Maritávora, Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2012-2016
50% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz, 10% others. Winemaker Jorge Serôdia Borges (also Wine and Soul). Aged in French oak, 90% new.
Warm black cherry colour. Slightly charry, possibly a little reduced on the nose. With some air, bright dark cherries appear but still with a dusty, mineral overlay. Lots of spice and grip and freshness balance the dense, dark fruit. Dry and chalky on the finish. Seems to be rather closed down. (JH) 14%
VINHA DE MAZOUCO
Vinha de Mazouco, Reserva 2008 Douro 14.5 Drink 2011-2014
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca. Unicer is a big company with vineyards in Cima Corgo and Douro Superior but also in Setúbal and Alentejo and big producers of beer. Six months in French and American oak.
Black cherry colour. Aromatic, rich dark fruit and a touch of spice. Second bottle is better but still a bit bitter and hard on the palate. (JH) 14.36%
Caves Messias, Dados Reserva 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca. Messias also make wines in Bairrada and keeping their Baga. A Portuguese (João Soares) and a Spanish (Javier Rodriguéz) winemaker.
Deeply coloured. Aromas of small dark berries, a little smoky. Dark and savoury and inviting. Just a hint of tar. Sweet oak on the palate (10 months in French and American oak), less appealing than the savoury character of the nose. Dry and firm and dense. Lacks energy and freshness on the palate. (JH) 14%
Caves Messias, Quinta do Cachão Grande Escolha 2007 Douro 16 Drink 2010-2013
Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz. Grande Escolha ('choice') = Grande Reserva. Between Cima Corga and Douro Superior. RS 3 g/l.
Dark crimson. Extreme sweetness on the nose, but not overripeness. Lots of red fruit and a touch of mocha. 14 months in French oak. Soft, easy, rounded. Undemanding but easy to drink. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DE MOSTEIRÔ
Quinta de Mosteirô Rabigato 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2013
Winemaker Jorge Moureira. Baixo Corgo, very close to Vinho Verde country. Rabigato is a very acidic variety. No oak.
Fresh, mineral and citrus, slight leesy note. Surprisingly flat on the palate even though the pH is 3.29. Shame it lacks life because the nose is inviting. (JH) 12.5%
Quinta de Mosteirô, Reserva 2004 Douro 15.5 Drink 2010-2013
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca. Baixo Corgo. Part oak aged. Bottled 2010.
Deep ruby. Dusty nose. A little spirity and peppery. Very fresh acidity, relatively light in weight though the alcohol is not light. Juicy and fresh but no more. Doesn't seem terribly Douro. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DOS MURÇAS
Quinta dos Murças, Assobio 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2015
Field blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca. 30% aged six months in new and used French and American oak.
Deep, greyish crimson. Slight greenness. Very fresh and early picked. Firm, tight tannins. (JH)
Quinta dos Murças, Assobio 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2012-2014
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca. Esporão's outpost in the Douro. 20% of blend aged six months in French and American oak. pH 3.6, TA 6.2 g/l.
Bright dark cherry colour. A touch herbal on the nose and then darker fruit on the palate. Not very fair on the wine to taste it in this order. A little dilute on the mid palate but fresh and the fruit is to the fore. Shortish finish. (JH) 13.5%
Quinta dos Murças 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2016
Bought the property in 2008 and this is the first vintage. Cima Corgo sub-region, between Peso da Régua and Pinhão, at 450 m. Mixed vineyards. 12 months in mix of new and used American and French (the only new barrels are French) oak.
Ripe sweet dark fruit but not raisined though there's a hint of fruit cake. Touch of chocolate. Very fluid though structured. Fine tannins. Some peppery notes, red fruits. Cool vintage. Dry and fine. Elegant. (JH) 14%
Quinta dos Murças, Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
Field blend. Esporão's outpost in the Douro. Old-vine blend of the usual suspects. 12 months in French and American oak.
Deep blackish crimson. Ripe, dark, hint of Douro bake but not overripe. A little spirity on the nose. Taut and firm and quite (attractively) austere at the moment though the finish is more juicy. Pretty closed at the moment and more to come. Fine tension and freshness on the finish and good length. (JH) 14%
Quinta dos Murças, Reserva 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2018
Blend of fruit from different altitudes - high up and down by the river, blended at bottling.
Inky, dark crimson. Gentle sweet plum flavour and dark, small-berried fruit. Very fine grained. Dry, condensed and dense but not heavy. Very good freshness and finesse. Classy and balanced. (JH) 14%
Muxagat, MUX 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2014
90% Rabigato, 10% field blend. 40% is aged in French and Austrian oak casks. Great label.
Very pale. Gently and invitingly honeyed and creamy but mineral too. Soft on the palate, honey and cedar too though it's dry and then a little bitter on the finish. Unusual. (JH) 13%
Muxagat, Os Xistos Altos 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
100% Rabigato from their highest parcels of 20-year-old Rabigato at 500 m in the Douro Superior on schist. Cooled for 12 hours to 10 ºC. Fermented in large oak (2,000 litres) with indigenous yeasts. Aged 14 months in foudres. pH 3.3.
Pale straw. Inviting nose of quince and citrus along with nutty and salty notes. Oatmeal too. Very crisp and mouthwateringly zesty on the palate. Pure, penetrating and lively and a salty/creamy finish. Refined and expressive but just lacks a certain persistence. Gives the impression that it will age well in bottle – and seems barely to have aged so far - though I haven't tasted any older vintages. (JH) 12%
Muxagat Tinta Barroca 2010 Douro 15.5+ Drink 2013-2017
Muxagat made by son of João Nicolau de Almeida. Douro Superior. Muxagat means cat and owl and they appear, sharing a glass of wine, on the label.
Slightly reduced - smells like it has just come out of the vat. Quite difficult to taste at this stage. Shame because it could be interesting. After carafing: much better, though the oak is now to the fore. Pretty dry and drying at the moment. Not sure Tinta Barroca is one for a varietal. Too highly structured but maybe it will come round. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, Redoma Branco 2010 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2015
Barrel-fermented fruit from old, high-altitude vineyards – field blend.
Gorgeous smoky, oaky mealy nose with a fine orange lift. Complete, creamy but fresh and mineral too. Fragrant and long and already complex with apricot and citrus on the finish. (JH) 13%
Niepoort, Redoma Branco Reserva 2010 Douro 17.5 Drink 2012-2018
Field blend of mainly Rabigato, Códega do Larinho, Arinto, Gouveio, Viosinho. Fermented in French oak barriques and 500-litre casks. Nine months on lees, neither malo nor bâtonnage.
Oak is quite subtle on the nose, less so on the palate at this stage, a touch reductive, but reveals lovely depth of generous fruit underneath, apricot and lemon with a touch of orange. Fresh but creamy on the finish. Dry, finely textured and long. Very gentle and elegant overall. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, Tiara 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2017
Salt and vinegar crisps on the nose at first. Then citrus and mineral. Creamy with a grapefruit pith freshness. Intense, long with a peachy mid palate and finishes fresh. Surprisingly quite weighty on the palate. Having tasted an older vintage, I know that this has an ageing capacity I would not at first have expected. (JH) 13%
Niepoort, Coche 2010 Douro 18 Drink 2014-2020
A little smoky and reductive, as you would expect for a Coche-Dury tribute wine. Opening up on the nose to intense and minerally citrus, then pure and concentrated on the palate, with clear citrus combined with something more savoury. Really edgy and fresh even with so much density on the palate. Long and satisfying. Ripe-fruited than the original but a pretty good imitation. As it warms in the glass the concentration (impressive at this level of alcohol) just builds in the mouth. Very long. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, Bioma 2010 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2014
Tinta Amarela, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Sousão and Touriga Nacional. Fruit (20-year-old vines) all from Quinta de Nápoles, organic. Fermented in inox with 20% stems. Malo and 12 months ageing in big old wooden vats (2,000 and 5,000 litre).
Mid purplish cherry colour. Wonderfully pure fresh dark fruit - dark cherry and blackberry – with great freshness, fine and subtle but noticeable fruit tannins. Very good fruit depth, just a touch of spice and earth, deliciously unoaked. (JH) 13.39%
Niepoort, Drink Me 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2013
Bright red cherry colour. Gentle, fruity - more red than black - but not simple. Lively and fresh with a lightly savoury character (maybe just a little reductive) and juicy finish. Good length for a wine pitched at easy drinking. Great label, as with all the Niepoort wines, this time with great cartoons. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, Drink Me 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Deep crimson. Lively peppery dark fruit, great energy and freshness is evident even on the nose. Then a fine leafy palate with more than a suggestion of Cabernet Franc. Elegant though not desperately long. Silky smooth tannins but the freshness lends structure. Delicious. VGV (JH) 13%
Niepoort, Charme 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2013-2024
The first time I tasted Charme was four or five years ago in the Cos tasting room during primeurs week, when Dirk Niepoort turned up and poured this wine (I don't recall the vintage) in the middle of all the young Bordeaux. It was a revelation of elegance. This is a little too young to have shed its spicy oak but it is still elegant and fresh. From sheltered vineyards in the Vale Mendiz in the Pinhão Valley. Fermented in stone lagares with 100% stems. AF and malo finished in French oak, where the wine stayed another 14 months. Mid ruby. Red fruits plus a more meaty savoury aroma. Silky tannins, lovely freshness and elegance. Very long and fragrant on the finish, even though the oak spice is still quite evident. (JH) 14%
Niepoort, Charme 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2020
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and others. 14 months in French oak. Vines 70+ and 100+ years.
Mid crimson (lighter than most in this flight). Delicate red fruits on the nose, quite sweet-smelling, a little earthy. Slight concern as to whether there was just a hint of TCA. Nevertheless, there is still that freshness and elegance that characterises this wine though there's a slight hardness on the finish. More plum on the palate, dense but lively, then more savoury on the finish. My score is based on how I think a better bottle would be. Very long. (JH) 14%
Niepoort, Redoma 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2020
Fruit from several north-facing vineyards, vines aged 60+ years. Fermented partly in small steel vats and partly in traditional lagares with food treading. Some stems. 60% aged in French barriques, the rest in big oak vats.
Deep glowing cherry red. Darker smelling and less fragrant than the Batuta. Pretty closed at the moment. Concentrated and moreish on the palate but with a lightness of touch and a long savoury finish. Fine minerally dry character. Not austere but not trying to charm. Needs time. (JH) 14%
Niepoort, Redoma 2008 Douro 17.5 Drink 2011-2018
A field blend, but mainly Touriga Franca and Tinta Amarela from north-facing 60- to 120-year-old vines.
Black cherry colour. Such fine tannins that you notice them first. Silky, the texture is the thing. Fine dark fruit. Refined and elegant. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, Batuta 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2018
70-year-old vines in a north-facing vineyard at Quinta do Carril, plus some centenarian vines near Quinta da Nápoles. Fermented in steel and in wooden vats with 60 days' total vatting. Malo and then 22 months in French oak, 40% new. pH 3.56.
Deep cherry red. Refined and lightly scented red fruits with just a hint of oak spice and some riper fruit notes. Silky and juicy on the palate, fresh and finishes dry. There's clearly some ripe fruit in there but held in check by the freshness and finesse. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, Batuta 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2018
Field blend but notably Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. Quinta do Carril and other old vineyards. Vines 70+ and 100+ years.
Deep crimson with bluish rim. Subtle fresh fruit, slight stemmy note, silky fresh and just a touch of mocha on the finish. Elegant and so silky. pH 3.64. 24 months in French oak but the oak currently shows mainly on the finish. Scented red fruit on the mid palate. Long and lingering with the lightness of touch of old vines and restrained winemaking. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, Vertente 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2016
Fruit from 20-year-old vines in the Tedo Valley and the balance from old vineyards in the Pinhão Valley.
Deep ruby. Dark fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, just a little peppery. Then silky, reassuring and fresh on the palate. As it opens up, more scented. Delicate and very long. Elegantissimo. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, Robustus 2007 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2022
Horribly heavy bottle but the most beautiful long cork. Field blend from vines aged 60–100 years. 50% stems retained. Aged four years in 2,000-litre wooden vats.
Mid ruby, lighter than most Douro reds. Refined aromas of red fruits and a touch of spice with a strong mineral element. Not giving much away but very inviting. Firm but silky tannins and a lovely dry finish with freshness and length. Deliciously free from oak overlay. A wine that dares to be different, and succeeds. I love its slighly austere pepperiness and complete lack of excess sweetness. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, OmLet 2007 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional. 18 months in old oak. Telmo Rodriguez and Dirk Niepoort JV.
Chalky dry texture but it glides across the palate. Peppery. Tiny tangy dark berries. Intense but fleet of foot. Quite restrained on the nose. Long finish that is both dry and juicy. (JH) 13.5%
Niepoort, OmLet 2005 Douro 17 Drink 2009-2016
A collaboration between Telmo (whence OmLet) Rodríguez and Dirk Niepoort.
Black cherry colour. Sweet, ripe and dark but more like loganberry than damson. Light spice, hint of dark chocolate. Chewy, fresh and full of energy. More dark plum on the palate. Lively, fluid and refreshing. Finesse and length. Still amazingly youthful with a real tension all the way through and a touch of minerality at the last. (JH) 13%
QUINTA NOVA DE NOSSA SENHORA DO CARMO
Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Reserva 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2014-2019
Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and old vines. Amorim (cork) family. Near Sabrosa in Cima Corgo. 16 months in new and used French and American oak.
Blackberry fruit but also dark and savoury and a little smoky. Savoury on the palate too. Tense, dry, firm and fresh. More austere than some but none the worse for that. Needs time. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Grainha Reserva 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2012-2017
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão. Amorim family. Grainha = seed of the grape. 15 months in French and American oak.
Acidity sticks out a bit on the finish after the raisiny ripe aroma. Tannins are already quite soft (for the Douro). Not very harmonious. (JH) 14.6%
QUINTA DO NOVAL
Quinta do Noval 2008 Douro 17.5 Drink 2013-2020
Much darker than the Cedro. Black core. Bags of sweet oak spice initially on the nose. Touch of liquorice and pepper. Dark on the palate, fine and savoury with very fine tannins. Dark fruited but still fresh and an elegant dry finish. Very refined. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Noval 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2020
Dark black cherry with black core. Sweeter and more immediate dark ripe fruit than Romaneira, at least at the moment, but still fresh. Alcohol shows a little on the nose but is more balanced on the palate. Dense but fluid. Tightly structured and less expressive on the palate and so much more to come. Dark, dusty and closed but very fine grained. Hidden at the moment. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Noval 2008 Douro 17+ Drink 2013-2020
Colour of elderberry juice. Sweet dark fruit and oak spice but relatively restrained in that dark, slightly dusty and peppery Douro style. Dark and savoury on the palate with a touch of roasted coffee without any bitterness. Very grippy but not aggressive tannnins. Highly structured and needs time. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Noval Touriga Nacional 2008 Douro 17.5 Drink 2011-2018
Cima Corgo. Aged in French oak. pH 3.66. Very dark, black core. Fragrant with that bergamot note but not OTT. Plenty of toasty oak. Classy dry freshness. Refined dark fresh fruit purity and light on its feet but very long. Aftertaste is mineral and dry and cool. Delicious. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Noval, Cedro do Noval 2008 Vinho Regional Duriense 16.5 Drink 2012-2015
Deep dark crimson. Fresh, fragrant with dark red fruit and also a sweet orange note. Very attractive and inviting. Then darker and more savoury on the palate. Sweet, dark, caressing fruit and smooth textured even now. Finely textured. Very approachable but pretty good depth and too. Highly professional. Smooth chocolatey finsh. (JH) 14%
Oboé, Superior 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
A Companhia dos Vinhos do Douro wine. Mainly Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca.
Attractive herbal aroma as well as dark plums. Quite a bit of oak evident on the palate, masking the fruit at the moment. A little bit hard on the palate and without more flesh, the alcohol shows a touch on the finish. (JH) 14%
Oboé, Grande Escolha 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
A Companhia dos Vinhos do Douro wine. Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca. Douro Superior. 20 months in new French oak.
Black cherry colour. Strongly baked, verging on burnt rubber, aroma, and a little spirity. Tannins are fine grained but the overall impression is rather hard. Decanted: less locked up and brighter on the nose, and not as hard on the palate. Longer too. Still relatively austere but much improved by aeration. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DA PACHECA
Quinta da Pacheca, Vinha da Rita 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2013-2017
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Cão, Sousão, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca. Foot-trodden in granite lagares. Nine months in French and American oak. Unfiltered.
Colour of elderberry juice. Savoury black fruit lifted by sweet oak spice and a touch of black pepper. Hint of vanilla sweentess that becomes more marked on the palate. Firm, smooth and dense but juicy on the finish too. Thickly textured but rounded. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta da Pacheca, Grande Reserva Touriga Nacional 2009 Douro 14 Drink ??
Old vines, foot trodden. 12 months in American oak. Dark, baked fruit. Very thick sweet tannins. But a bit monolithic. SO2 catch because recently bottled. Nice savoury finish. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DO PASSADOURO
Quinta do Passadouro 2010 Douro 17- Drink 2012-2014
Viosinho, Rabigato. Winemaker Jorge Serôdio Borges.
Watery white. Fragrant mix of pear, delicate white blossom, and grapefruit. Some mineral texture on the palate then pear flavour and texture. A light grip. Mineral on the finish too. Fresh and quite tight. Long too. Mouthwatering aftertaste. (JH) 12.5%
Quinta do Passadouro 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Viosinho, Rabigato, Côdega de Larinho. Grown on some of the highest Douro slopes. Mineral, pear and quince and a slight smoky reduction giving a savoury edge. Stony but with plenty of fresh, taut citrus fruit. Slight sweetness on the finish as if it were not bone dry? (JH) 12.5%
Quinta do Passadouro, Reserva 2009 Douro 17++ Drink 2014-2022
Field blend including 80% Touriga Nacional. Otter drawing on the two-part front label.
Black core. Perfumed nose of blackcurrant pastilles. Sweet and slightly floral and spicy on the nose. Firm tannins but succulent underneath and fresh on the finish. Deep but lively and alcohol not too evident. (JH) 14.9%
Quinta do Passadouro, Reserva 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2014-2020
Field blend of 50+ year-old vines, including Touriga Nacional. Winemaker Jorge Serôdio Borges. Yield just 10-15 hl/ha. Malo and 18 months in French oak, 80% new. RS 2.6 g/l, pH 3.66.
Dark and subtle on the nose though you know there's masses of ripe but not too sweet dark fruit. Effortless concentration of old vines, giving great elegance and refinement even in youth. Tannins are dense and super-smooth. Terrific wine with so much more to come. Then at the end the purity of the fruit shines through again, even with all that structure around it. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Passadouro 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
30% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 25% Tinta Roriz, 20% old vines. Grown on some of the highest Douro slopes.
Inky, markedly floral perfume initially. Fine dark fruit on the palate. Modern, fresh, lively. Fragrant on the mid palate too and dark and fresh. A little chewy too. Clean and dark and dry on the finish. GV (JH) 14.9%
Quinta do Passadouro 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2019
Touriga Nacional (30%), Tinta Roriz (25%), Touriga Franca (25%), 20% field blend. Winemaker Jorge Serôdio Borges. Malo and 18 months' ageing in French oak.
Rich dark glowing crimson. Lovely sweet red cherry nose and an orange fragrance. Lifted and inviting fruit aromas. Marked by red fruit all the way through. Slight note of cough linctus on the palate. Lively, spicy and refreshing. Firm but fine tannins. Still very young. Fresh bright finish. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Passadouro 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2015
Winemaker Jorge Serôdio Borges, husband of Sandra Tavares. Dark and restrained but very inviting on the nose. Small wild dark berries and just the merest hint of Touriga Nacional's floral side. Lots of spice and almost a spicy texture. Dark, savoury, firm, dense and highly refined even though the tannins are young and tight. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DA PEDRA ALTA
Quinta da Pedra Alta, Reserva Pessoal 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2015
60% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinta Roriz, 20% Tinta Barroca.
Aromas of mainly sweet oak spice (Nine months in French and American oak) but there's dark cherry fruit underneath. A little bit charry and tart. Pretty oaky on the palate too. Firm grip and a bit abrupt on the finish. Overoaked at least for the moment and alcohol shows. (JH) 15%
Quinta da Pedra Alta Touriga Nacional 2007 Douro 16.5- Drink 2011-2015
High up on the Cima Corgo and towards Douro Superior. Nine months in American oak after foot treading. Unfiltered.
Dark black cherry colour. Lots of toast and roasted coffee aroma. Then under the oak, markedly floral - violets and bergamot. Then surprisingly liquid and fresh across the palate even though the pH is 3.83. A little bit hard on the finish. (JH) 14.5%
Poças, Vale de Cavalos 2009 Douro 14.5 Drink 2012-2013
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca. Douro Superior. 40- to 60-year-old vines. Eight months in new French and American oak.
Warm, ripe and spicy. Damson fruit. Then lots of vanilla and coconut and mocha on the palate, rather defeating the fruit at this stage. Too much oak sweetness for me and then the oak is drying it out. (JH) 14.22%
QUINTA DOS POÇAS
Quinta dos Poças, MG XXI 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2013-2018
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Donzelinho Tinto, Rufete, Sousão, Tinta Cão. Stupid heavy bottle. Poços = wells. Lamego - Cima Corgo. 18 months in French oak, new and used.
Ripe blackberry, touch of vanilla and orange and just a little spirity on the nose. Thick and velvety, massive in the mouth. Lots of spice. Finishes dense and dry and only just fresh. Rich, chewy and generous. Not for the faint-hearted. (JH) 15%
Quinta dos Poças, Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2013-2020
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. Douro Superior. Part of Douro Family Estates. One of the oldest estates in the Douro Superior.
Very dark black cherry colour. Restrained on the nose but much more expressive on the palate. Lively black fruit. Dry and chewy but well balanced by the savoury and dark fruit. Powerful, intense and long though the finish is a little heavy and hard. (JH) 15%
Poeira, Pó de Poeira 2010 Vinho Regional Duriense 16.5 Drink 2012-2015
Winemaker Jorge Moreira. Creamy oak nose and some orange. Slight smokiness. Then a lovely orange zest and freshness on the palate. Clear fruited and long if not especially complex. (JH) 13.5%
Poeira, Pó de Poeira 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2015
Winemaker Jorge Moreira. Aromatic dark fruit slightly held back by a reductive note though this had disappeared later. Very silky smooth. Generous in fruit and easy to drink. Lovely freshness and full of vitality. Juicy fruit on the finish and a lovely savoury dark aftertaste that I associate with the granite of the Douro. (JH) 14.5%
Poeira 2009 Douro 17+ Drink 2013-2020
Jorge Moureira's own wine. Cima Corgo. 12 months in oak.
Colour of elderberry juice. Smells a little reduced at the moment. Smells of elderberry juice too. Dark, baked but not raisined on the nose. Then so savoury and coal-like on the palate. There's fruit density rather than fruit flavour at the moment. All in its shell and not wanting to come out for a while. Firm but smooth tannins and just fresh on the finish though the minerality is very marked on the aftertaste, which adds to the freshness. (JH)
Poeira 2009 Douro 18 Drink 2013-2019
Winemaker Jorge Moreira. Aged in French oak.
Fragrant with a light note of orange and bergamot. Intense but not fully revealed. Gentle red and dark fruit. Super fine super silky tannins even now. But the concentration builds in the mouth to a long pure finish. Beautifully balanced and elegant. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DO PÔPA
Quinta do Popa Tinta Roriz 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2014
4,000 bottles. Vines aged 30+ years. Six months in French oak.
Mid ruby. Spiced red fruit aroma. Gentle on the nose then fresh and bright on the palate. Fresh hedgerow berries. Light oak touch then very fresh acidity. Fine and fresh on the finish. Bright and lingering. Fine grip. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Popa, Vinhas Velhas 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Field blend. Luis Pato consultant winemaker. Cima Corgo. Four months in ?new French oak.
Dark crimson but not as dense as Touriga Nacional in colour. Sweet red fruit on the nose, slightly mineral. Gentle and red fruited on the palate too. Silky and fresh. Elegant with the oak sweetness showing more on the finish. Juicy and bright but long too. Lively and bright. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Popa, Vinhas Velhas 2007 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2010-2016
Field blend. 4 ha of interplanted varieties. Lagar is temp controlled but still the traditional granite.
Small berry fruit. Sweet oak char. Fresh and refreshing. Dark and savoury char on the finish at the moment (oak). Very firm tannins but refined texture. Savoury finish. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Pôpa, Homenagem 2008 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2014-2020
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, plus old vines. Darker and more savoury on the nose than the PaPo. Closed and dark on the palate. Quite difficult to taste at the moment because it is so hidden and young. Very closed and coal-dark. Difficult to broach now but it has finesse and elegance in its structure. You can see some nice freshness on the palate. All locked up. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Pôpa, PaPo 2008 Vinho de Mesa 16.5+ Drink 2014-2020
Tinta Roriz, Baga. Tinta Roriz from the Douro and Vinha Pan from Bairrada – Luis Pato is the consultant here (PaPo = Pato + Pôpa).
Slightly dusty red fruit on the nose. Elegant and juicy and fresh but also highly structured from the Baga. Do not approach just yet. (JH) 13.5%
Quinta do Pôpa, Vinho Tinto Doce 2010 Vinho de Mesa 15.5 Drink 2011-2013
Late harvest – picked early Oct but only at 14%. This year picked later and DMDC used to kill the yeast after chilling to stop ferment.
Pinkish purple. Blackcurrant candy and a touch of spice. Experimental in 2010. Nice sour cherry nose. Fun and juicy and and a light tannic grip. Finishes a bit short but next year, they say, it will have more concentration. Smart labelling, as for all the wines. (JH) 9.5%
QUINTA DO PORTAL
Quinta do Portal, Mural de Favaios 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Moscatel Galego Branco. No malo, three years in cask. pH 3.25.
Fabulous burnt orange colour. And smells of burnt oranges too. And reduced apricots. Lots of caramelised orange and barley sugar on the palate, some dark toffee and a slight tannic grip that nicely undermines the sweetness. (JH) 17%
Quinta do Portal, Reserva 2004 Douro 17 Drink 2014-2024
Moscatel Galego Branco. RS 107 g/l, TA 4.67 g/l.
Again a beautiful colour, so hard to describe, like deep burnt orangey gold. Dark orange. Like ths sun as it is about to disappear on the horizon. Alcohol seems more present on the palate than for the Mural de Favaios, though the flavours are more complex. Less barley sugar and more bitter marmalade. A little less tannic too. Still needs more time. (JH) 18%
Quinta do Portal, Grande Reserva 2007 Douro 17- Drink 2011-2017
60% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 10% Touriga Franca. 60-plus-year-old vines. New French oak for four months.
Fresh and scented, with the light concentration of old vines - ie concentrated but not heavy. More red than dark fruit. Then savoury and almost a little tart on the palate. Lively and long and really juicy on the finish. (JH) 14.11%
Quinta do Portal, Late Harvest 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2016
40% Rabigato (with some botrytis), 40% Moscatel, 20% Viosinho. RS 125 g/l, pH 3.2, TA 6.81 g/l.
Deeply honeyed apricots. Very sweet, just a touch of botrtyis orange character but mostly sweet with some barley sugar. Not particularly complex (yet) and a slight grainy texture on the finish. (JH) 12.11%
PV, Egle 2010 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2012
60% Rabigato, 20% Viosinho, 15% Códgea de Larinho, etc. Egle was the 'nymph of the dazzling light' in Greek mythology. No oak. Low-temp fermentation. Creamy citrus, touch of spice. A bit dilute on the finish. (JH) 13%
PV, Quinta do Sagrado 2007 Douro 16 Drink 2010-2015
Eight varieties, not specified. Calhem family since 1885, this quinta near Pinhão belongs to Quinta da Foz (since sold). Aged in French oak (half new).
Black cherry colour. Dark fruit and a hint of chocolate on the nose, some garrigue, then much drier-textured and juicier on the palate than I expected. Fresh and lively. (JH) 13.5%
Quanta Terra, Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2015
Gouveio, Viosinho, from the Douro Superior.
Mid gold. Gently honey lemon with something riper, not quite pineapple but also an attractive smoky edge. Dense and rich and full bodied, creamy texture, oaky spice but not overoaked. Fresh tight finish to a powerful wine. (JH) 14.58%
Quanta Terra, Terra a Terra Reserva 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2012-2020
Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz. Project of several winemakers including Vincent Bouchard from Burgundy.
Lifted cherry aromas and oak sweetness. Lots of vanilla on the palate, vanilla and malted milk (12 months in French oak). Fine but dryish tannins. That oak sweetness is a little overwhelming at the moment. Nose better than the palate. (JH) 14.46%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2015
50% Rabigato, 20% Arinto, 20% Viosinho, 10% Folgasão. Fermented in French oak and aged nine months on fine lees.
Dusty, mineral, grapefruit-pith freshness, the oak note very light. Salty citrus depth on the palate. Fresh, rounded and complete. Sour pithy finish increases the freshness but the lees ageing gives a richness to balance. Long and more to come. (JH) 13%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Viosinho, Rabigato, Arinto. Barrel fermented and same varieties as in the straight Branco. Riper fruit character than the Branco and oak very much in the background, more evident in the fuller palate than in the flavour. Greater intensity and a little broader than the non Reserva; still has some minerality. Lemon and a touch of apricot. Selected in the vineyard. Small barrels but experimenting with 6,000 and 8,000 litres. Dense but fresh. (JH) 14%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2015
Viosinho, Rabigato, Arinto. 200,000 bottles. Viosinho for struture and intensity, Rabigato for fruit and acidity and Arinto for minerality and acidity. Delicate mineral citrus. Creamy texture, relatively soft and easy but still fresh. Good depth and a slight grainy texture. (JH) 13%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2016
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barroca. 700,000 bottles made. Good sales in Canada, Brazil, US and France (Nicolas) and starting in Germany, some in UK (MMD). Blend from different altitudes but all in Douro Superior.
Bright purple. Gentle damson and red fruit nose. Aromatic with a mineral, dusty overlay. Then rich in flavour but elegant in texture. Very fresh acidity and lingers well. Used oak and only for a small part of the wine. (JH) 14%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2019
50% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta da Barca.
Deep dark crimson. Restrained, minerally dark fruit. Stony, rocky aroma overlays some very ripe but almost savoury fruit. Richness and just enough freshness, even with all that alcohol. Fine, firm savoury tannins. Really sturdy without being brutish. Surprisingly juicy finish. Very accomplished Douro red. (JH) 15%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2021
Some sweetness of oak on the nose but all closed up. Even so you can sense the lovely freshness of elderberry and blackberry rather than plum and damson spectrum. Touch of oak char from the new oak (20%). Tight and densely structured but you can see it has that fine fruit and freshness yet to open out. (JH) 14.5%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2014-2023
70% Touriga Nacional, 5% Tinta Barroca, 25% Touriga Franca. According to Bento, made in a more modern style than the Reserva Especial.
Deep dark cherry. Pure bright cherry and blackberry fruit on the nose with a slight dusty overlay and just a hint of very ripe damsons but counterbalanced by a savoury oak note. Unexpectedly elegant on the palate - fresh and fleet of foot but with fresh length too. Paper-fine tannins present but subtle. Hides its alcohol well. Cool, refined and fresh. (JH) 15%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva 2008 Douro 17.5 Drink 2015-2025
Black core. More savoury, liquorice, elderberry. Dark and coal-like and introvert. Firm but refined grip. All dark at the moment. All closed but so fresh and alcohol well hidden (though sample is very cool and this helps to minimise the alcohol). (JH) 15%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva 2007 Douro 17 Drink 2014-2020
80% Touriga Nacional, plus Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, etc – depends on the vintage. 20% new oak. (1990 is apparently still a baby.)
Touch of sweet oak spice but there's greater fruit intensity too. Dark plum, blueberry, damson, all dark but sweet and still shows mineral overlay of the Duas Quintas. Lovely texture, fine-grained, fluid, but has that lovely dark coaly texture and remains fresh on the finish. (JH) 15%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva Especial 2004 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2022
Field blend. 80-year-old vines. Deep crimson, very young looking. Gently spiced, peppery, minerals and wild herbs, warm and rich on the nose. More red fruit than black. Moreish and velvety. Elegant and fragrant yet rich at the same time. Mild mannered but well built and mouthwatering freshness on the finish. A point. Lovely depth and good length. (JH) 14%
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva Especial 2004 Douro 17.5 Drink 2015-2025
A little more fragrant than the 2000 but also mineral and darkly dusty. Sweet small dark berries. Lovely restraint and finesse. Needs a good deal more time in the bottle. Tannins are austere at the moment but fine and not astringent, just dry. Very long. (JH)
Ramos Pinto, Duas Quintas Reserva Especial 2000 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2025
Made in only the best years – first was 1995. 2001 is about to be launched. 2000 is on the market. Very old vineyards, all hand-picked and foot trodden. No pumps, no fining. Big wooden vats. Rich, sweet, dark generous fruit on the nose. Slightly herbal/garriguey but not green. Tannins are drier than the Reserva and the whole thing is a little more austere. Pure dark fruit but has a fine floral note and a dusty overlay. Still such a baby. Refined dry tannins. (JH) 13.5%
Ramos Pinto, Collection 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Nacional and other mixed varieties. Darker fruit than the 2007, less open at the moment. Firmer grip but still beautifully elegant. Cool serving temperature helps. Finest of fruit tannins and fresh juicy finish. Moreish and starting to show fragrance on the mid palate. (JH) 14%
Ramos Pinto, Collection 2007 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2015
Touriga Nacional and other mixed varieties. 40,000 bottles. Painted labels. Finesse from the Bom Retiro vineyards. Blend from different Douro regions. More red fruit than the Duas Pintas. More Touriga Nacional and mixed-variety old vineyards in Bom Retiro. Big wooden vats of 9,000 litres. And starting to use bigger oak and Austrian oak. Lovely pure fruit and refreshing and no sign of the alcohol except just at the very end. Fine and upright tannins but fruit not oak. Delicious restraint but pure fruit. This was a warmer than average vintage, hence the higer alcohol. (JH) 15%
QUINTA DA REDE
Quinta da Rede, Reserva 2011 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2014
Arinto, Viosinho and Gouveio. Winemaker Osvaldo Amado. Fermented at 15 ºC, finished fermentation in French oak and then aged two months in barrel with bâtonnage. pH 3.15.
Very pale. Zesty citrus and quince with a touch of oak on the nose but its subtle. Oak a little more evident on the palate. Creamy and lively at the same time. Grapefruit and lemon and a flinty note. Youthful, dry, fresh. (JH) 13%
Quinta da Rede, Reserva 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2014
Arinto, Rabigato, Gouveio. Winemaker Osvaldo Amado.
Very pale. Cedary oak on the nose along with fresh herbal, almost floral aromas. Quite a lot going on. Creaminess shows on the nose and palate and that cedary, almost resinous character of classic Portuguese whites comes through. Moreish finish. (JH) 12.5%
Quinta da Rede, Reserva 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2010-2013
Arinto and Rabigato. Winemaker Osvaldo Amado. Fermented at 15 ºC, finished fermentation in French oak and then aged three months in barrel. pH 3.2.
Very pale cold – noticeably darker than the 2010. Complex and inviting nose. Resinous freshness, just a touch buttery, but also lovely herbal cedary aromas from the time in bottle. Starts well in the mouth but fades a little on the finish, leaving quite a strong woody (not oaky) aftertaste though still holds its freshness. (JH) 13.5%
Quinta da Rede, Reserva 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Nacional (30%), Touriga Franca (30%) Tinta Roriz (40%). Winemaker Osvaldo Amado. Fermented in robotic lagares at 25 ºC. Aged nine months in new French oak.
Very dark like elderberry juice. And lots of lightly charred oak notes with sweet notes of vanilla too, all overlaying the dark fruit at the moment. Not sure if the spice is fruit or oak-derived. Powerful and dense but not heavy, though I find the oak too dominant even now. There's some very nice fruit underneath, concentrated too, and just enough freshness so it's a shame that the oak overwhelms it, otherwise I might have scored it higher. Nice tannins – compact and a little chewy but fully ripe and sweet. (JH) 14%
Restrito 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2013
50% Rabigato, 50% Viosinho. Douro Superior.
Slightly woody nose (no oak), more cedary. Opens up to more citrus. Very clean and fresh and dry with a slight grip. Not a lot of fruit flavour – more about the mineral texture and grip. Viosinho texture is very nice. Very upright and distinctive but not for fruit lovers. Not a great amount of depth but cool length. (JH) 12%
Restrito, Grande Escolha 2007 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2013-2017
90% Touriga Nacional, 10% Touriga Franca. Started 2006. Name means 'restricted'. 1,800 bottles. Nine months in French new oak.
Inky black. Very very ripe Douro damsons and plums. Sweet blueberries. Dark dry tannins on the palate, fresh and fine grained. Dark and coaly on the finish. Savoury length. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DA ROMANEIRA
Quinta da Romaneira, Reserva 2008 Douro 17.5 Drink 2011-2018
50% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinto Cão. 25-year-old vines. 100% French oak.
Deep purplish crimson. Finely aromatic, mostly in the red fruit spectrum. But also blackberry and an attractive garrique, dusty arid scrub note. Delicate spice. Silky, fresh and still has good density and length. Real finesse and elegance even in youth. (JH) 14%
Quinta da Romaneira, Reserva 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2018
Deep dark black cherry. That lovely Douro darkness and fine but not overly sweet dark fruit though there's the ripeness of damson lurking below. Very very fine tannins but they are there. Super fresh and fluid. Dark restraint but long and concentrated, just has a lightness of handling. (JH) 14%
Quinta da Romaneira 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2010-2015
60% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca. 23-year-old vines.
Bright black cherry colour. Cedary cassis nose. Fragrant, fresh and gentle but not soft or simple. Refreshing and lively. Oak well hidden, with a gentle grip on the finish. Well balanced. Not trying too hard. (JH) 13.5%
QUINTA DO ROMEU
Quinta do Romeu, Romeu & Julieta Rosé 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2012
Traditional blend including Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cão.
Deep golden pink, has both the colour and the aroma of Victoria plums. Dry, very fresh, light red fruit such as cherry and a touch of something more tangy/sour like grapefruit. Slight grip on the finish. Does the job. (JH) 12.45%
Quinta do Romeu, Romeu 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
Field blend but including 75% Touriga Nacional. Oenologist Rui Cunha. From a place called Jersalém do Romeu.
Black cherry with wide smudgy rim. Exotic dark fruit on the nose and the classic bergamot of Touriga Nacional. Smells decadent and perfumed. Dense, rich and chewy on the palate. Bags of flavour. Smooth and generous but fresh too (TA 6.45 g/l). Orange zesty aftertaste with spicy length. (JH) 13.36%
QUINTA DE RORIZ
Quinta de Roriz 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2015
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Francisca. Aged in French oak. Prats and Symington.
Deep crimson. Gentle, lightish, smooth tannins and easy pleasure. Both fruity and savoury. A good introduction to the Douro. (JH)
Quinta de Roriz, Prazo de Roriz 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
35% Touriga Nacional, 35% Tinta Roriz, 28% Touriga Franca, 2% Tinta Francisca. Aged in French oak.
Deep ruby. Gentle, fresh, lightly spiced red fruit. Very fresh and lively with a definite but not aggressive grip. A little spirity on the nose but the alcohol is less evident on the palate though the finish is warm. Juicy but well structured. GV compared with many a Douro red. Fresh, dry and minerally on the finish. Good intro to Douro table wines. Oak well in check. (JH) 14%
Quinta de Roriz, Prazo de Roriz 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2014
Prazo means ‘lease’ and was the name given to Roriz during most of the 18th century. Aged in French oak.
Dark and savoury. Oaky spice but good fruit depth. This is good to wean lovers of NW richness onto the more savoury European style of the Douro. A little bit tight on the finish. Fresh though. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DE LA ROSA
Quinta de la Rosa, Passagem 2010 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2015
Field blend. 'The crossing'. Douro Superior. Two to three days' skin contact and matured on lees in used oak with lees stirring.
Mineral, pine-forest freshness. Amazingly full in the mouth given the 1.8 g/l RS though the alcohol is 13.6%. Mostly citrus but also a touch of fresh pineapple. Powerful and long. (JH) 13.6%
Quinta de la Rosa, La Rosa 2010 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2016
35% Viosinho, 35% Rabigato and others. 50% fermented and matured in barrel.
Lovley spiced mineral nose with a touch of reductive smokiness at this young stage. Tight, zesty, less rich in the mouth than I expected, more tension, but has lots of energy and verve. (JH) 13.3%
Quinta de la Rosa, Passagem 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2019
Mainly Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. Bottled 2011. From Quinta das Bandeiras, near Pocinho, opposite Vale Meão. Owned by the Berquist family but a JV with Jorge Moreira. 18 months in French oak.
Black core. First impression is delicately floral. With aeration, there's more of that Touriga Nacional typical bergamot note and small black berries. Finely aromatic without being OTT. Lively juicy and sweet-fruited on the palate. Fresher than so many 2009s. Taut, zesty and dry but the tannins are fine grained. Good length. Less savoury than many. Maybe just a little too floral as it opens up. (JH) 14%
Quinta de la Rosa, La Rosa Reserva 2009 Douro 17.5+ Drink 2013-2019
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cão, Touriga Franca. Winemaker Jorge Moureira. Aged in French oak.
Clean, pure and very dark fruit with a light mineral overlay. Intense and succulent with firm but very smooth-edged tannins. Cool savoury finish even though there's plenty of alcohol. Dry and fresh and very embryonic on the palate. Some oak spice but the oak influence mainly swallowed up by the ripe dark fruit. (JH) 14.8%
Rozès, Quinta do Grifo Reserva 2008 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2014
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Sousão. Lamego vineyards. Port producer owned by Pommery.
Rich, ripe and spicy on the nose. Just a hint of smoky/toasty oak. Then surprisingly dry, with papery tannins and freshness on the finish. Nose and palate quite different. A bit abrupt and lacking concentration on the finish. (JH) 13.5%
Rozès, Rozès Noble Late Harvest 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
100% Malvasia Fina. Eight months in French acacia barriques.
Mid gold. Oily orange and apricot nose, hint of marzipan, lots of botrytis character. Intense and spiced and rich. Just fresh enough and bags of flavour. Tangy. (JH) 14.5%
CAVES SANTA MARTA
Caves Santa Marta, Montes Pintados 2009 Douro 15 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. 12 months in oak.
Very dark. Slightly meaty dark fruit and a mineral edge. Firm, harmonious and savoury on the finish. Sweet and smooth on the mid palate. Correct and nice juicy finish despite the alcohol. (JH) 15%
QUINTA DE SÃO JOSÉ
Quinta de São José, Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2012-2017
5% Sousão, 30% Touriga Nacional, 65% old vines. 24 months in used French oak.
Black core. Spiced damsons, rich and concentrated on the nose and Touriga Nacional violets. Very sweet on the palate, and without the savoury edge to balance. Soft and sweet even though it is full bodied. Too sweet for my taste and lacks freshness on the finish. Boiled sweet aftertaste. (JH) 14.6%
Secret Spot, Crooked Vines 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Mainly Gouveio, Viosinho, Rabigato from Cima Corgo. Fermented in French oak.
Ripe but minerally fruit - not quite tropical but heading that way. Full and bright in the mouth, crisp citrus freshness and a creamy aftertaste. (JH) 14.12%
Secret Spot, Crooked Vines 2007 Douro 16.5 Drink 2010-2016
Partial destemming, 17 months in oak.
Pure and intense spiced black plums and damsons. Winning aromas. Just the right side of very ripe. Fresh, smooth, juicy and a nice savoury, almost sour aftertaste. Really like the savoury edge though there's a bit of heat on the finish. Very Douro, good concentration. Great food wine. Tannins are firm but not at all aggressive. (JH) 15.5%
Secret Spot 2007 Douro 16.5 Drink 2010-2015
More restrained on the nose than the Alentejo wine. Sweet red fruit on the mid palate. A little smoky and mocha. Again that slight bitterness on the finish but rich and fresh. (JH)
QUINTA DA SEQUEIRA
Quinta da Sequeira, Branco 2010 Douro 16 Drink 2011-2013
Rabigato, Gouveio, Côdega do Larinho and Malvasia Fina.
Very pale straw. Intensely aromatic. Lemon, grapefruit and herbs and very faint grassy note. Plus pear and even white peach. Very inviting on the nose. But it’s not all fruit. There’s also a mineral streak. Surprisingly sweet on the palate - the sweetness comes as a bit of a shock (RS 11.7 g/l), though the fruit is fresh and precisely mirrors the aromas, with plenty of ripe pear flavour. A slight chalky texture adds interest on the palate and a delicate sour freshness of grapefruit on the finish. Very long but there’s just too much sweetness for an ideal balance, otherwise I would probably have marked it higher. (Producer says it's what his customer wants and that it would be easier to make a dry wine.) (JH) 13%
Quinta da Sequeira, Branco Reserva 2010 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2011-2014
Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, Gouveio, and Côdega do Larinho from centenarian vineyards.
Very pale gold, notably more deeply coloured than the straight Branco. Nice oaky aromas – gently oxidative and honeyed with a touch of oak spice. But then a tangy quince and apricot fruit depth and a touch of grapefruit pith bitterness/freshness. Rich and broad on the palate but still a fresh streak. An oxidative/oaky style but very deliberate and controlled. Long and generous. (JH) 14%
Quinta da Sequeira, Grande Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2015-2020
Horribly heavy bottle. Classic Douro blend from the Douro Superior aged 24 months in French oak.
Deep crimson, opaque at the core. Complex aroma that shows spice and coffee, probably from the oak, but also intense and ripe damson fruit. Massive and mouthfilling with masses of very ripe black fruit, just avoiding overripeness though there is a very slight hint of raisins and lots of fruitcake on the palate. Firm, chewy but ripe tannins. Very powerful with chocolate sweetness on the finish. Not really my kind of wine but well made in this powerful, ripe style that reflects the heat of the Douro. At 16% it is hard not to think of port, though this is dry. I think this will reward a good bit longer in the bottle. (JH) 16%
Quinta da Sequeira, Grande Reserva 2007 Douro 16+ Drink 2012-2018
Third bottle: very dark cherry with black core. Dark and savoury and withheld on the nose. Black fruit and a touch of liquorice. Rich, dense and powerful. Very firm and very dry. Needs time - still a little bit tough. (JH) 14%
Quinta da Sequeira, Grande Reserva 2007 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2018
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela and Tinta Barroca. 24 months in French oak. Unfiltered.
Dark inky crimson. First hint is vanilla-oak sweetness, then sweet cherry and intense dark cherry aroma but with a similar smoky mineral overlay as the Reserva. Sweet and sour seem a little bit separate at the moment but this definitely needs time and patience to mesh and settle down. Firm, dry, grippy tannins with some sweetness in the middle then a dry, savoury long finish. Tangy and juicy even with all the density and power. Alcohol well hidden. Reserva is more elegant. (JH)
Quinta da Sequeira, Reserva 2005 Douro 16.5 Drink 2010-2015
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca. Mundus Vini medal winner for 2007. Deep dark ruby. 10 months in French oak. RS 3.3 g/l.
Fragrant with both red and black fruit, though mostly dark, lively on the nose though the alcohol shows a little. Dense, chewy and rich. Mouthfilling but not heavy. Pretty chewy on the finish, thickly textured tannins. Just about fresh though the pH is a respectable 3.6 and there is freshness if you look for it beyond the warmth of the alcohol. Classic Douro and oak is not OTT. Very complete and good length. (JH) 15%
Quinta da Sequeira, Reserva 2005 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2015
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela and Tinta Barroca. 10 months in French oak. Unfiltered.
Deep black cherry colour. Smoky (slightly reductive), ripe sour cherry, and lots of dark fruit but with an attractive spicy, savoury, mineral restraint. Intense but not overly sweet. That same dark savoury character shines through even more clearly on the palate, with a surprising freshness and balance given the alcohol. Almost a bitterness on the finish, which increases the freshness. Compact, fine, dense tannins that are only just ready to yield now and have a good way to go. Refined power. (JH) 15%
Quinta da Sequeira, Colheita Tardia 2009 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
Malvasia Fina. Fermented and aged six months in new Vosges oak. RS 178 g/l.
Pale gold. Honeyed but with lots of apricot and orange fruit and bitter orange peel. Pure, fresh and intense. No botrytis. Sweet, honeyed on the palate. Just fresh enough and the texture is caressingly smooth. Oak very well integrated. Likely to gain in complexity. (JH) 12%
QUINTA DO SILVAL
Quinta do Silval, Special Sensations Grande Reserva 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2010-2014
Touriga Nacional. Deep dark cherry colour. Very slightly reductive note but none the worse for that. A litte bit earthy and peppery. Taut and dry on the palate. Not very giving but quite refined. Slightly hard. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Silval, Dorna Velha Grande Reserva 2007 Douro 15.5 Drink 2010-2013
Touriga Franca. Original consultant was Pascal Chatonnet. Winery won best architecture award. Building made from schist and cork. 14 months in new French oak.
Very dark black cherry colour. Fragrant pure dark fruit with the oak very subtle but adding spice. Fresh, dry and very elegant and dry mineral edge. Light on its feet. Powder-fine tannins, not a huge amount of flesh but good length. Touch of oak toast comes back on the finish. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DO SOQUE
Quinta do Soque, Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
One of the Quintas from the Douro Family Estates. Very nice label with old vine and embossed paper. Vines average age 80 years. Field blend of 20 varieties.
Moreish and savoury on the palate after elegant red fruit freshness on the nose. Has that silky concentration typical of old vines - sustained by not heavy. Spicy but not overly oaky (18 months in new 500-litre French oak). Light chew on the finish and alcohol well hidden so that it seems to finish cool. pH 3.5. (JH) 14.58%
Quinta do Soque, Vinhas Velhas 2008 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2016
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca. Touriga Nacional from Cima Corgo. 12 months in French and American oak.
Very ripe, very sweet aroma, both raisiny and still that orange note of Touriga Nacional. Juicy and fresh, surprisingly so after the ripeness on the nose. Perhaps the sweetness is also due to the American oak. Typical paradox of Douro - almost raisiny on the nose and yet has good acidity and firm tannin structure. (JH) 13.9%
QUINTA DAS TECEDEIRAS
Quinta das Tecedeiras, Flor das Tecedeiras 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2016
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão.
Dark crimson. Finely aromatic - delicate floral notes from the Touriga Nacional but also more wild, peppery cedar note - almost a little stemmy. So expressive and inviting with a strong mineral element. Dry, fresh and sophisticated, verging on the lean. Firm, fine tannins and real freshness on the finish with little sign of the alcohol. (JH) 14%
Quinta das Tecedeiras, Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
A Dão Sul wine. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca.
Deep dark cherry colour. Dark fruit, mocha and spice on the nose. Quite peppery. Then really supple and fresh on the palate. Harmonious and whole. Firm but fine tannins. Just a little dry on the finish. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DA TOURIGA
Quinta da Touriga, Chã 2008 Douro 15 Drink 2012-2016
80% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinta Roriz, Douro Superior. 15 months in French oak.
Inky core. Ripe, fruitcake nose with sweet damson fruit. A little bit hard (and hard work) on the palate, which is a shame after the richness of the nose. Tannnis are on the astringent side and made harder by the alcohol. (JH) 15.3%
Quinta da Touriga, Chã 2007 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
80% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinta Roriz. Owned by Jorge Rosas. Douro Superior. Aged in French oak.
Colour of elderberry juice. Dark, spicy and a little smoky. Very Douro nose - baked but savoury and mineral too with dark fruit. Sweet oak spice on the palate. Smoothed tannins. Generous and polished. Elegant and juicy on the finish. Not sure why I can't get excited about this. It's very well made but just seems to lack energy on the palate. Then the oak comes through on the finish. Accomplished. (JH) 15.5%
Caves Transmontanas, Vértice Grande Reserva 2009 Douro 15.5 Drink 2011-2014
Surprisingly deep gold. Ripe apricot with a touch of honey and orange. Then more sour on the palate, more grapefruit. Tastes so different from the aroma. 48 hours' skin contact accounts for the tannic feel to the palate. Fermented in new and used French oak. Slightly bitter finish. Shame because the aromas was nice. Finishes a little dry. (JH) 14.25%
Caves Transmontanas, Vértice Espumante Gouveio 2005 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Celso Pereira winemaker - well known for fizz. Pale bright gold. A little bit toasty but mostly fresh apple and citrus aromas. Lively, tastes bone dry (5.9 g/l) and pH 2.92. Very very crisp, youthful and mouthwatering. Bubbles fade fairly fast and there's a slight grip on the finish. 50% fermented in barrique. (JH) 12.43%
QUINTA VALE D MARIA
Quinta Vale D Maria 2009 Douro 17+ Drink 2013-2024
Field blend of old vines, traditional Douro varieties. Greyish dark crimson. Delicately fragrant nose. Subtle and fresh and juicy but with an appealing dry quality to the tannins. Red fruited on the palate, elegant even in youth. Rich and deep-fruited but light on its feet even with all this alcohol, which does not stick out. Sweet and spice of oak on the finish at the moment but still scented on the mid palate. Elegance and power in tandem. Needs time. (JH) 15%
Quinta Vale D Maria 2008 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2018
Colour of elderberry juice. Intense Douro nose – ripe spicy dark fruit with a floral overlay. Inviting. Then dense and smooth and caressing on the palate. Reassuringly rich but still fresh and very long. Savoury, firm dry finish. (JH) 14%
Quinta Vale D Maria 2005 Douro 17- Drink 2012-2020
After airing, signs of TCA. Hence the minus. At first: Dark crimson with ruby rim. Fragrant, lightly spiced dark, damson fruit with a more savoury/mineral overlay and just a touch of cedar. Both chewy and juicy – still youthful and tense. Finishes with a firm and attractive dry texture that is very Douro. Only just ready to drink and a long life ahead. Alcohol well hidden. Refinement emerging from density. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta Vale D Maria 2004 Douro 17 Drink 2010-2018
From this vintage, owned solely by Christian van Zeller (label refer to Lemos and van Zeller - Lemos is his wife's family name).
Deep ruby. Dark, savoury and mineral on the nose, with that coal-like association I have with the Douro. Lots of dark fruit too. Really fresh and savoury on the palate, a hint of tar. Firm, dry savoury finish. Big tannic wine but with the tannins now resolved and refined. Sweetness comes back on the long finish. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta Vale D Maria 2003 Douro 16.5 Drink 2008-2015
Deeply coloured with pinky garnet rim. Ripe, dried fruits, figgy. Both sweet and savoury. Very ripe and sweet on the palate, thickly textured, rich but less refined than the 2002. Generous fruit and avoids the drying finish of many a 2003 but a touch bitter on the finish. (JH) 15%
Quinta Vale D Maria 2002 Douro 17 Drink 2008-2020
Still bright garnet. Fresh and spicy dark fruit, fresher-fruited than the 2001. Drier and a little more severe than the 2001 too yet also more elegant. Refined, dense tannins, harmonious and still full of energy. (JH) 13.5%
Quinta Vale D Maria 2001 Douro 17 Drink 2007-2020
At this timed owned by José Maria da Fonseca & Christian van Zeller.
Deeply coloured. Gentle, sweetly aromatic. Mature red fruit. Firm, ripe and dense but not at all overripe even though there's some dried-fruit flavour in there. Not porty. Fine, dry tannins yet fresh and juicy on the finish even with this level of alcohol, just a touch warm at the back of the throat. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DO VALE DA FIGUEIRA
Quinta do Vale da Figueira, Reserva 2006 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2016
40% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 25% Tinta Roriz, 15% field blend. Cima Corgo. Foot trodden, eight months in French oak.
Lovely fragrant nose, gentle red fruit, light spice, and that lovely hinit of bergamot again. Lively and very fresh. Fine and dry and elegant. Has slightly less of the roasted edge of the 2005. Juicy and bright but not quite as complex as the 2005. And tannins are a little softer and sweeter. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Vale da Figueira, Reserva 2005 Douro 16.5 Drink 2010-2015
40% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 25% Tinta Roriz, 15% field blend. Cima Corgo. Foot trodden, eight months in French oak.
Rich very dark garnet. Scented and fresh with the classic Touriga Nacional bergamot and orange and slightly floral on the nose but with a fine roasted underpinning and the classic Douro darkness. Touch of mocha. Juicy and fluid and red fruited on the palate. Elegance and lightness of touch. Firm but fine tannins and it is the fluid quality that shines to the long finish. Maybe just a touch hard on the finish when you compare it with the 2006. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DO VALE DA PERDIZ
Quinta do Vale da Perdiz, Cistus Touriga Nacional 2008 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2012-2018
Douro Superior. Winemaker Manuel Angel Areal. 15 months in French oak.
Inky black core, deep purple rim. Floral mixed with sweet oak spice and small roasted and very ripe black fruit and a mineral edge. Rich, powerful and still juicy. A big mouthful. Firm but rounded tannins. Well made and full of flavour. Bold and rich. (JH) 15%
Quinta do Vale da Perdiz, Cistus Reserva 2008 Douro 16.5 Drink 2013-2017
40% Tinta Roriz, 40% Touriga Franca, 20% Touriga Nacional. Douro Superior. 15 months in French, American and Hungarian oak.
Black cherry colour. Warm, rich, fruitcake spice, prunes. Similar flavours on the palate, with a more savoury note of roasted potato skins. Grippy tannins that finish dry and fresh acidity. Alcohol well hidden. (JH) 15%
QUINTA DO VALE DA RAPOSA
Quinta do Vale da Raposa Touriga Nacional 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2019
Deep soft cherry. Ripe, sweet spicy damsons. Almost a touch overripe - wonder if this is a barrel sample? Much drier and more savoury on the palate. Like bitter cherry chocolate. I preferred the 2008. Thickly textured tannins, long, slightly warm, slightly bitter finish. (JH)
Quinta do Vale da Raposa Touriga Nacional 2008 Douro 17.5 Drink 2011-2018
On the right bank of the Douro, next to Gaivosa. Oak in evidence on the nose, sweet and spicy. Powerful and velvety. Tannins are so plush but there's a marked mineral layer which pulls back the sometimes overly intense Touriga character to a fine balance. Touch of dark chocolate on the palate but mostly it is fluid, clear fruit and a spiced aftertaste. Refined and elegant even though it is powerful. Still has a touch of that Touriga bergamot and floral perfume but refined and retstrained. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vale da Raposa Sousão 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2015
Very dark cherry colour. Black core. Extremely ripe fruit on the nose: prunes and figs. Tastes just a tad overripe. Intense dark fruit becomes more savoury on the palate but needs a little more freshness. Chocolate cherry liqueur effect. (JH)
QUINTA DO VALE MEÃO
Quinta do Vale Meão 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2013-2020
57% Touriga Nacional. They produce 160,000 bottles of this second wine. Less Touriga Nacional than in the grand vin. Used French oak.
Deep garnet. Lots of spice on the nose. Firm, dry grip. Fresh and dry finish with a touch of heat. Flavour rather than sophistication at the moment and a nice juicy finish. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vale Meão 2008 Douro 18 Drink 2014-2025
Douro Superior. Deeply coloured with black core. Fruit smells even more savoury than in the 2007, black cherry and sweet damson. Spicy, dark and minerally but with real fruit richness at its heart. Powerful wine that manages to convey elegance and refinement even in youth. Clearly has plenty of oak but it's swallowed up by the fruit and the minerally depths. Chewy, so moreish and the finish amazingly fresh. Hold tight for a long life. Great wine. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vale Meão 2007 Douro 17.5 Drink 2013-2020
Douro Superior. Dark as elderberry juice. Relatively closed on the nose though you can sense the riches lying in wait. Pure dark fruit with the mineral tones of the Douro clearly showing. Savoury too. Even more savoury and coal-like on the palate. Fine but dense tannins and lovely harmony even though it is still young and not fully expressive. Refined and elegant even now. Slides over the palate in that cool, dark Douro fashion. Lovely wine. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vale Meão 2009 Douro 18 Drink 2013-2020
57% Touriga Nacional, 35% Touriga Franca, 5% Tinta Barroca, 3% Tinta Roriz. 27,000 bottles and about to be released (Oct 2011). Best and oldest vineyards. 100% new French oak (can go down to 70% in some vintages). Mainly Taransaud, which works well with Touriga Nacional because it is more neutral, and François Frères – higher toa st - for the Touriga Franca. Big Touriga Franca component, as well as several other varieties.
Deep, inky black cherry colour. Touch of vanilla sweetness on the nose and lots of oak sweetness on the palate. Vanilla over dark fruit and black olive. Much finer tannins than Meandro even though they are more dense. Dry but sweet–fruited finish. Fine dark berries on the mid palate and more mineral than the Meandro. Overall sweet with a note of Touriga Nacional perfume. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vale Meão, Meandro 2009 Douro 16 Drink 2012-2014
Mainly Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. On the right bank of the Douro, next to Gaivosa.
Oak in evidence on the nose, sweet and spicy. Powerful and velvety. Tannins are so plush but there's a marked mineral layer which pulls back the sometimes overly intense Touriga character to a fine balance. Touch of dark chocolate on the palate but mostly it is fluid, clear fruit and a spiced aftertaste. Refined and elegant even though it is powerful. Still has a touch of that Touriga bergamot and floral perfume but refined and retstrained. (JH) 14%
QUINTA DO VALLADO
Quinta do Vallado 2011 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2014
Arinto, Gouveio, Rabigato, Viosinho. Zesty grapefruit and citrus aromas, also stony and a touch herbal/vegetal. Bone dry, crisp, mouthwatering with just enough creaminess in the texture to round out all that freshness. A touch of Grüner Veltliner's peppery lift on the palate too. Impressively persistent given the particularly moderate alcohol. (JH) 12.5%
Quinta do Vallado Sousão 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2017
18 months in French oak. Dark as elderberry juice, black core. Unbelievable colour! Dark-berried hedgerow fruit and plenty of oak on the nose. Becoming more fragrant as it opens and showing a rocky Douro origin. Rich, generous and smooth but the hallmark is intenese freshness and lively fruit, even a slightly sour note on the aftertaste. Plush, dense texture contrasts with the vibrant acidity and bright concentrated fruit and the alcohol not too intrusive though you can feel it. Needs time. Perhaps it shows that a Douro red is better as a blend but it is a very successful rendition of this variety, perhaps better with a little less oak. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vallado Touriga Nacional 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2012-2019
17 months in French oak, 73% new. Very dark. Lovely aroma of small dark berries and just a touch of Touriga Nacional's orange/bergamot but also clear minerality. Very savoury and lots of oak spice on the palate but even with such density there is a lightness of touch of old vines and good winemaking. Lovely juicy texture without juicy fruit flavours. Dark and coaly and delicious even though it is far too young to broach. With great mineral length and leaves your mouth feeling fresh.(JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vallado, Reserva Field Blend 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2013-2020
69% old vineyards (20 varieties) plus 31% of younger Touriga Nacional. 17 months in French oak.
Deep crimson. Sweet and spicy oak and dark fruit on the nose. But there's a clearly mineral Douro overlay. Vanilla laced black fruit on the palate with a sour/savoury aftertastes that lifts it from the initial sweetness. Warm finish but the fine, dry tannins add a contrasting cool edge to the aftertaste. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vallado, Reserva 2004 Douro 16.5 Drink 2009-2014
Old-vine field blend. 17 months in French oak.
Dark ruby with a very slight brick note at the rim. Minerally and dark fruited, a hint of cedar, refined and restrained rather than sumptuous on the nose. Very discreet but with a sense of promise. Silky, dry and elegant on the palate. Still plenty of primary fruit and a long way to go. Surprisingly little tertiary character. Slightly bitter finish brings it down. (JH) 14.5%
Quinta do Vallado Moscatel Galego 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2012
Delicate but distinctively fragrant - floral and a touch grapey. On the palate there's much less of that floral character and a more woody (not oaky) flavour that I think must come from a couple of years in bottle but also the slightly sour freshness of grapefruit pith. I remember drinking this on a hot Douro day in October as a perfect aperitif with the best salted almonds I have ever tasted. Light but not simple. Unexpectedly long. (JH) 12.5%
Van Zellers 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2012-2014
Bright and creamy citrus on the nose with a touch more woody (not oak) character on the palate. Towards pine. And a slightly sour, stony, grapefruit freshness with just a slight graininess that seems to increase the length. Chewy and long. (JH) 13%
Van Zellers, VZ 2010 Douro 17 Drink 2012-2018
Too-heavy bottle. Savoury, mealy nose from the oak. Pretty oaky on the palate though there's some pine and citrus freshness underneath. Very fresh actually. Rich and mealy on the palate with a hint of orange. Clean and very fresh on the finish. (JH) 13.5%
Van Zellers, CV 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2019
Too-heavy bottle. Barrique aged.
Deep, dark cherry crimson. Lots of sour red cherry on the nose too, quite lifted. Bags of peppery spice. Unexpectedly smooth at this young stage even though the tannins are so dense. I thought the alcohol would stand out more but that sour cherry flavour seems to undermine the alcohol's sweetening effect and there a more savoury dark finish. Needs time even though the tannins are so well managed. (JH) 15.5%
Hernâni Verdelho, Dona Berta Reserva Rabigato 2005 Douro 17 Drink 2008-2015
Old vines. Barrel aged. Pale gold. Cedary, resinous nose. Linseed-oil aroma rather than flavour. Immense freshness, nutty, dry mineral texture with a light phenolic grip. Highly distinctive. Sour, refreshing finish; long and mouthwatering. (JH) 13%
Hernâni Verdelho, Dona Berta Reserva Rabigato 2001 Douro 16.5 Drink 2005-2013
First ever varietal Rabigato in Portugal. Old vines. Deep orange-gold. Honeyed, oxidative, salty, woody, caramel nose. Dried - almost bitter - apricots and marmalade on toast with a touch of cedary linseed on the aftertaste. Long, tangy, sour freshness with a firm phenolic grip and aftertaste of tangy apricots even though it is a fully dry wine. Just slightly harsh but fascinating. Spent a few too many years in the producer's garage in Lisbon, so perhaps prematurely oxidative, at least compared with the 2005's ageing path. (JH) 13.5%
Hernâni Verdelho, Dona Berta Xisto-Granito 2004 Douro 16.5 Drink 2009-2014
Douro Superior at around 600 m. Blend of port varieties. João Brito e Cunha winemaker.
Velvety garnet colour. Slightly corky though you can see the dark raisiny and yet savoury fruit underneath. TCA has made the finish a bit hard. Second bottle: more meaty and open. Lively and red fruited with fine dry tannins. Fresh and fine grained on the finish. On the lighter side, elegant. Score is for the clean bottle. (JH) 13%
QUINTA DO VESUVIO
Quinta do Vesuvio, Pombal do Vesuvio 2009 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2012-2018
60% Touriga Franca, 30% Touriga Nacional, 10% Tinta Amarela. Sweetness of blackberry compote but also darker and more mineral and masses of sweet oak spice as it opens up. Fragrant and exotically spiced with a touch of orange. Smooth, soothing and yet dry. Tannins are rounded but firm. Very smooth on the long finish. (JH) 14%
Quinta do Vesuvio 2009 Douro 16.5+ Drink 2013-2019
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela. North-facing vineyards so cooler in this hot, dry vintage. 13 months in new 400-litre French oak.
Expressive Touriga Nacional aromas - floral and with a touch of orange. Plenty of dark fruit too, even a touch of liquorice. Surprisingly lithe on the palate and lovely and fresh, feels lighter in the mouth than the Pombal, more elegantly textured. Smooth and long but still fresh. (JH)
WINE AND SOUL
Wine and Soul, Guru 2010 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2018
Viosinho, Rabigato, Códega do Larinho, Gouveio. Field blend, 50-year-old vines. Fermented in new French oak. Aged on lees six months.
Rich but subtle savoury oak on the nose. Both spicy and mealy from that oak and lees contact. Dense, creamy and fresh on the palate. A touch of orange and clear citrus purity though the oak overlay is more evident at the moment. A touch smoky. Mouthfilling but still fresh and lively on the finish. Lovely freshness and a bright grapefruit and lemon aftertaste. Long. (JH) 12.5%
Wine and Soul, Guru 2008 Douro 18 Drink 2011-2015
Viosinho, Rabigato, Códega do Larinho, Gouveio.
Rich, almost exotic aroma: so complex - there's minerality, creamy citrus, pear, and so much more that cannot be teased apart. Oak is evident but so intertwined with all the other aromas that it doesn't stand out or dominate. On the palate, creamy texture, cedary citrus flavour and wonderful freshness even though it is mouthfilling and full-bodied. This is a fabulous example of oaked Douro white. As it opens out, there's that inviting quince aroma that reminds me a bit of the best Loire Chenin Blanc. Finishes cool and long with a blend of fruit and savoury. (JH) 12.5%
Wine and Soul, Pintas 2009 Douro 18 Drink 2013-2020
79-year-old vines, foot trodden. Winemakers Sandra Tavares da Silva and Jorge Serôdio Borges.
A little darker than the Character, black core. Intense and so aromatic you feel it can't quite escape the glass yet. Scented with dark fruit on the palate. Sweet but not overly sweet fruit. Really concentrated but has such fragrance and refinement. No excess of weight. Beautifully proportioned even in youth and very very long. (JH) 14.5%
Wine and Soul, Pintas 2009 Douro 17.5 Drink 2013-2020
More than 30 varieties. Jorge Serôdio Borges and Sandra Tavares JV. 78-year-old vines in the Pinhão Valley with more than 30 varieties. One year in French oak, 70% new.
Very dark with black cherry rim. Exotically spiced, intense and perfumed, just very slightly floral. But over all that it is strongly mineral and has the dark quality of fine Douro grapes. Very chewy and concentrated but still manages to be scented on the mid palate. Very very dense, plenty of chew but tannins are tight and firm but neither hard nor aggressive. Big young wine but the fruit purity shines through. Long savoury aftertaste. (JH) 14.5%
Wine and Soul, Pintas 2008 Douro 18 Drink 2012-2020
Attractively smoky aroma, and a touch dusty/mineral. Really dark and although the fruit is sweet, there's an initial savoury impression. Lithe and supple and the power is all hidden, like the alcohol. Beautifully balanced and long. Minerally fresh finish. (JH) 14.5%
Wine and Soul, Pintas Character 2009 Douro 17 Drink 2013-2018
44-year-old vines, foot trodden. Winemakers Sandra Tavares da Silva and Jorge Serôdio Borges. Field blend of over 30 varieties. Malo and 18 months in French oak.
Rich black cherry colour. Bright cherry colour. Rich dark fruit but with a savoury spicy overlay and the sweetness of oak still clear. Fragrant, lightly floral. Thick but melting tannins and a lovely fruit sweetness. Touch of spice on the long finish. Deep pile tannins and a fine freshness at the very end. Mouthwatering aftertaste and surprisingly fluid across the palate already. (JH) 14.5%
Wine and Soul, Pintas Character 2007 Douro 17 Drink 2011-2016
Deep glossy crimson. Succulent dark bramble fruit, very light mineral/dusty note but still so youthful. Rich and generous and velvety but with a mouthwatering freshness on the finish, even though there is some heat at the very end. Smooth chocolate-like tannins. (JH) 14.5%
QUINTA DO ZIMBRO
Quinta do Zimbro, Zimbro Grande Reserva 2007 Douro 17- Drink 2010-2017
Zimbro = juniper. Baixo Corgo. Modern label. Nine months in French and American oak.
Black cherry colour. Lightly fragrant: small wild dark berries. Fine dry tannins but has a real elegance to it and lots of restraint. Some sweet red fruit on the mid palate. Scented and bone dry - refined tannins and finishes fresh with just a touch of oak sweetness at the very end. (JH) 13.5%
Quinta do Zimbro, Zimbro 2007 Douro 15.5 Drink 2009-2013
Extended maceration. Nine months in French oak. Deep black cherry colour. Ripe, dark-fruited and slightly medicinal. Taut and dry and refreshing. Firm but fine grip on the finish. Correct but not remarkable. Finishes a little dry. (JH) 14%
Dalva, 20 Year Old Dry White NV port 17 Drink now
Field blend of Malvasia Fina, Códega, Viosinho, Rabigato, Donzelinho. Dry white = drier style. Normal sweet white would be 110-20 g/l RS and this is 60 g/l.
Deep gold with a hint of ochre. Slighty nutty and lots of bitter orange, a bit like a Madeira on the nose. Sweet and rich but also fresh. Amazingly youthful and tangy with that orange zest finish and so long. (JH)
Dalva, Golden White Colheita 1963 port 17.5 Drink now
Very old sweet wine. Golden White = brand name. Still on the market. Declared once a decade.
Slightly browner gold. RS 119 g/l. A little nutty but still has that lovely bitter orange note. Great power but also great freshness and youth. Dried apricot intensity. Still so much fruit. Must be racked once a year. Good casks (600 litres). (JH) 20%
£82 RRP for a half
Dalva, Golden White Colheita 1952 port 18 Drink now-2013
Much browner than the 1963 but with a green hue. Could have been more extracted. Made more like red port. May get onto the UK market. One cask left. Very nutty – walnuts - on the nose but still so fresh and a slight herbal note. Still so like a Madeira and the acid almost as high. Amazing power and concentration and length. Sweeter than the 1963 – RS 153 g/l. But sweetness is balanced by the concentrated freshness of the fruit. (JH)
Dalva, Ruby NV port 16 Drink 2011-2013
Approved as Reserve Ruby (replaces vintage character). Organic viticulture – bought-in grapes. High proportion of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca.
Blackish purple. Spirity dark fruit. Lots of spice and pepper. Sweet damsons and very smooth tannins. Just about to be launched in Sweden (late 2011). Spicy damsons. Violet Touriga Nacional note but not too much. Fresh and juicy. Smells more like a sweet red wine. (JH) 19%
Dalva, 30 Year Old Tawny NV port 17 Drink now
The Dalva tawnies tend to be more consistent than their colheitas because they are aiming for a particular house style.
Sweeter on the nose than the 1975 Colheita – heather honey - and a little spirity. Drier style but lower acidity? Very fresh and finely balanced. RS 110 g/l, TA 5 g/l. Apricots. A little bit harsher than the 1975. (JH)
Dalva, LBV 2007 port 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Blackish crimon and black core. Not yet bottled (end 2011). Much more raisined on the nose. Hot vintage. Fruit-cake spice. Moreish tannins and really nice freshness after the very ripe fruit character. Very soft but well proportioned. (JH) 20%
Dalva, Colheita 2000 port 17 Drink now
Field blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão in the older wines (started to come back 1995 – very blue colour). Just bottled. Minimum seven years in cask. Some of the best Colheitas coincide with vintage years.
Reddish brown. Much more subtle on the nose than the old whites and spirit not evident. Still has some red fruit character but also that orange and spice to go with it. Very smooth and although it has lots of flavour it is subtle. Gentle and long. Could easily last five years, or a lot longer, in bottle. (JH) 20%
Dalva, Colheita 1995 port 16.5 Drink now
Not generally declared because of the 1994 declaration but a very good year and an early vintage. Bottled 2010. (Bottled to order.)
More browny ochre colour than the 2000 and less pink. Touch of walnut but also not very expressive on the nose. Spirit more evident on the nose. Really quite spirity but fresh and long. Bitter toffee or bitter orange toffee. Still very refined. (JH) 20%
Dalva, Colheita 1992 port 18 Drink now-2013
Some declared 1992. Very similar colour to the 1995. More walnuts and savoury on the nose. Slight smokiness of Islay whisky. Very sweet but also more nutty and dense and so concentrated in the mouth. Dark bitter toffee and walnuts on the palate but lovely and fresh. Bottled 2010. (JH) 20%
Dalva, Colheita 1985 port 18 Drink now
Greeny ochre. More smoky than the 1992. Light note of Lapsang. Walnut. Tastes much sweeter than the 1992. RS 136 g/l. TA 7 g/l. Very hot vintage so quite a lot of raisining. Intense bitter orange marmalade and dried marmalade but great acidity too. Wonderful balance. Very long. Superfresh and lively and enough to keep you awake. Bottled 2010. GV (JH) 20%
Dalva, Colheita 1975 port 18.5 Drink now
Walnut skin colour. Touch of honey. Power and intensity and more of that bitter toffee but still has caramelised apricot fruit. Great acidity again. More masculine than the 1985. Tangy and a touch of phenolic grip. Generally declared as a vintage though they were generally quite light. TA 7 g/l. (JH)
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