jamie goode's wine blog: Churchill's Quinta da Gricha 2007: serious Douro wine

Monday, December 14, 2009

Churchill's Quinta da Gricha 2007: serious Douro wine

2007 is a very successful vintage in the Douro, which is one of my favourite places on earth. And this Quinta da Gricha is one of the many serious table wines made this vintage, by the growing bevy of top flight Douro producers. I wonder how long it will be before Portugal is given the credit it deserves for its best wines? Nice touch to see a black and white aerial view of the vineyard on the label.

Churchill Quinta da Gricha 2007 Douro, Portugal
Brooding, dark and intense with lovely floral blackberry, tar and sweet dark cherry nose. The palate has attractive mineral undertones to the smooth but firmly structured blackberry and plum fruit. Lovely concentration of fruit here with some savoury complexity. It's a warm-climate wine, but there's really good definition and this should age well over the next couple of decades. 93/100 (c. 30, UK agent Stokes Fine Wines)

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At 10:56 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

Could not agree more about Portugal and its wines. Disclosure - I specialise in them.
But seriously, here we have a wine producing region with 'en primeur' status among UK's top wine merchants -witness the offers from Tanners and Adnams in recent times.

People need to see that below the top flight wines there is a whole gamut of affordable, fine and highly drinkable product. Happily the stats seem to be showing that Portugal is finally starting to have its day in the sun. And not before time

At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anthony said...

That is one unique looking bottle label. I love the aerial view of the vineyard. Thanks for the review, I'll have to check it out sometime.

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Pedro Guimaraes said...

I still hold a couple of 2002's in my cellar. The old label was far prettier than this one!!!! But i love the wine (both 2002 and 2005)...didnt tasted the 2007 yet!!!

I dont get this wave of restyling...special after 3 vintages only!!!!!!

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Italian Wine Blog said...

I was staring at that bottle for ages and couldn't work out what the hell that was on the label. It's like one of them magic puzzles for the eyes.

Yes, more Portugal, I keep on bashing away with it and still relatively uninspired.

Can you recommend for me a Portugese wine that could change my mind? Would it be this?

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Pedro Guimaraes said...

Four options:

2005 (Douro) Abandonado
2005 (Dao) Qta. dos Carvalhais Unico
2003 (Bairrada) Luis Pato Qta. do Ribeirinho Pe-franco
2005 (Alentejo) Qta. do Mouro Rotulo Dourado (gold label)

all these change my live everytime i get to drink them :)

At 6:29 PM, Anonymous The blog inspector said...

Hi Jamie

Nick states his interest clearly.
Just so we are clear on your position please could you disclose any financial or other incentive that might be interpreted as possibly influencing your view on these wines.

What about Beaujolais?

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

Blog inspector - I declared an interest with a little bit of irony. It was not totally necessary. I choose to specialise in Portuguese wines because I really think they are unbeatable in terms of quality, style, value and interest. I don't have a drop of Portuguese blood in my body, just love the wnes

Quinta de Gricha is not represented by me, nor in my portfolio. I know that your comments were aimed at Jamie, but it is entirely possible to have uncorrupted enthusiasm for a wine or its country of origin.

I suppose the cynic might say that my comments about the potential of these great wines may influence folk to buy more Portuguese and in some small way, in the future, this may rub off on my profits but we are getting into semantic territory here.

Can we not assume that this (or any other) blog will be untramelled by commercial influence? If we feel that blogs just don't ring true we don't have to follow them, after all.

At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Portuguese wines at under 15 or so would you recommend, Nick?

I am a long-term fan after living a while in Portugal 20 years back, but also a bit dismayed by how many Portuguese wines seem to be following the Parker-chasing route. These days my favourites seem often to be from Bairrada.


At 10:39 AM, Blogger dmjg said...

I am so impressed by Portuguese Wines that I have started my own blog web site.
I know Johnny Graham well but besides his da Gricha he produces a lovely table wine 'Churchill Estates' and has recently produced a 'red rose' light wine which is delicious.
One comment mentioned Bairrada. A number of quintas are producing excellent wines and there is Louis Pato !
But the Dao is producing equally good and some great wines.
Then there is the aletajo!!

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find a lot of the Alentejo wines too international in style. Though there are exceptions like Mouchao.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Blog inspector, I have no financial interest or conflicting interests in the Douro itself (although I would dearly love to own a few hectares of this wonderful terroir) or in Churchill.

As for good afforbable Portuguese wines, too many to list here. From the Douro -

Churchill Estates 2007 8.99 Majestic
Cedro do Noval 2007 - c 12 independents
Waitrose Douro Reserve 2007 (from la Rosa) 10
Nick Oakley also imports Duorum, which is a fabulous and affordable Douro wine, c. 11

At 10:01 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

anonymous - there are so many to mention that its hard to know where to stop or start. The crazy and delightful mix of indigenous grapes is what gives them their character, that's for sure, but it also makes them hard to sell in markets that are in the thrall of international varieties. In the UK I can recommend the Terra de Lobos wines from Ribatejo, the Tagus Creek wines from both Ribatejo and Alentejo, Marques de Borba from Alentejo (and yes I agree with the (other) anonymous contributor about his remarks on the international style of Alentejo, but is that such a bad thing? It's a great entry point for non-believers.) And in the Douro I can cite Duorum and Quinta Nova. So far all the wines have been mine, but in the interest of balance, I think that the newly released Pena de Pato is very good, the Quinta de Avaleda from Vinho Verde equally so, and Crasto and Churchill do great wines in the Douro at the (reasonably) affordable end of the scale. I like Cedro do Noval very much with its 30% syrah in the blend. Probably my absolute favourite is Quinta do Vale Dona Maria from the Douro which is absolutely sublime. Better than any cru classe I ever tasted.

For the future I would be on the lookout for elegant minerally whites from the coastal areas. We are already starting to see some (may I quote Quinta de Sant'Ana near Mafra, one of my own?). If you consider the climate, and the fact that Galicia, Bierzo and Rueda in Spain have already established reputations for high quality whites there is no reason that Portugal should not follow suit. Hope this helps. And for the record, despite the burgeoning reputation of the Douro I believe that Portugal's finest wines will eventually be from the Dao area. Watch this space..........


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