Portuguese wines reviewed in WOFW 24
The World of Fine Wine issue 24 arrived on my doormat today. It's an expensive publication (£30/$60/E50 for a single issue), but it's unbelievably rich in content (disclaimer: I write for it).
I love the way the tastings are run, with three expert tasters chosen for each, and the comments of each plus their scores reproduced in full. This issue, one of the tastings is on Portuguese reds, with Julian Jeffs, Richard Mayson and Charles Metcalfe as the tasters. What is instructive is the way that all these experienced tasters seem to disagree on most of the wines. The beauty of this format is that rather than smooth out the data to reach a rather meaningless average, we get to see the different perspectives.
What did I think of the results? Where I know the wines, I wasn't too keen on the verdicts reached (even allowing for the disagreements among the three tasters). Maybe it was a root day?
Here are two examples:
The top wine of the tasting was the 2005 Herdade de Sao Miguel Reserva (Alentejo), which had scores of 18.5, 18.5 and 18 from the tasters. Yet it seems they went for size: Richard described it as: 'So dark as to be almost inky; dusty overextracted aromas, lacking in definition at this stage but may open up; dense, quite impressive, big, bold tannins, mouth-filling but lacking in finesse'. That doesn't sound all that appetizing to me.
Dirk Niepoort's Charme 2006, one of my favourite Douro wines, got hammered. Julian gave it 12.5, Charles 13.5 ('no great complexity') and Richard 9.5 ('Very pale, washed out colour; similarly hollow on the nose, not much to give; totally hollow on the palate...this wine serves no purpose at all').