New Douro 2005...the best yet!
Went to a very enjoyable tasting held at the spectacular East Room, on the 7th floor of the Tate Modern today. It was the third installment of the New Douro, a collaborative effort including 18 of the top table wine producers in the Douro, and this year we were looking at wines from the 2005 vintage.
If I were to single out particular wines in this brief post it would be a little unfair, because the overall quality was uniformly high, but I'm going to do it anyway. First, a couple of general comments. 2005 isn't a perfect vintage, but it comes closer than most. It was perhaps just a touch too dry and too warm, but that's being fussy. Apparently 2007 is looking like an utterly incredible vintage: everyone I spoke to was thrilled by it. But let's not take attention away from 2005, because the average quality is very high.
One of the most exciting things about today's tasting was that there seem to be a real diversity of styles emerging with these Douro table wines - more so than was evident before. Producers seem to be finding their feet, and getting to grips with what effectively is a brand new region in terms of table wine production. It's very hard to say what Douro 'terroir' tastes like in terms of wines. The diversity of microclimates through the various valleys along the Douro, coupled with different approaches to winemaking, seems to make for a range of different styles.
So, some standouts. Niepoort Charme 05 is fantastic, as is Vale Meao 05. Crasto and Vallado both have thrilling Touriga Nacionals. La Rosa's Cerejinha and Vale do Inferno (single vineyard wines) are utterly lovely, Poeria 05 is the best yet and one of the wines of the tasting, Christiano van Zeller's CV 05 is great, and Pintas 05 is top-notch. (Pictured above is Sandra Tavares of Pintas showing off her wine; below is the lovely new label of La Rosa's Cerejinha.)