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The wines of Real Companhia Velha, Douro, Portugal

Real Companhia Vinicolo do Norte de Portugal, Rua Azvedo Magalhães, 314, 
4400 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
UK agent: FE May (sales@winedirect.ltd.uk; tel: 020 7843 1600)

Real Vinicola, as it is known, is a company founded by the Portuguese government back in 1889 with the mandate of selling wines from Northern Portugal. These days it concentrates more on the Douro. Chief winemaker is the Californian ex-pat Jerry Luper. Quality is consistently reliable, but doesn’t hit any great heights. The Grantom Reserva, which has more than a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon in it, under-performed here: it tasted a good deal better in the Douro when I visited last June (2002). Like so many Portuguese wines, availability in the UK is poor, but they are available from the retail off-shoot of the importer, Wine Direct (see contact details above), whose prices are given in brackets.

Porca de Murça Branco 2001 Douro
Fresh and herby with a little lemony fruit. Nice simple style. Good/very good 78 (£4.99)

Porca de Murça Tinto 2001 Douro
Nice chewy, herby fruit but a bit simple. Good/very good 76 (£4.99)

Evel White 2002, Douro
Nice herby, fresh nose – this shows good balance. Herby, rounded palate shows good fruit. Acessible and interesting. Very good+ 86 (£6.50)

Evel Red 2001 Douro
Vivid red/pink colour. Good intensity of berry fruit with a spicy edge, presumably from the oak. Classically styled: there’s Douro character here, even though the wine is in a relatively modern mould. Very good+ 85 (£7.50)

Quinto do Cidrô Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Trás-os-Montes
Rounded grassy fruit with gentle herbiness. Nice enough but overpriced. Good/very good 80 (£7.99)

Quinto do Cidrô Chardonnay 2001 Trás-os-Montes
Lemony edge to the nutty, spicy nose, which is a little dominated by the barrel ferment character. Rich, sweetly fruited palate with lots of nutty oak. Nice in a slightly overblown style. Very good+ 85 (£8.25)

Quinta dos Aciprestes 2000 Douro
Chewy herby-edged fruit with good acidity. Good/very good 79 (£8.25)

Porca de Murça Reserva 2000 Douro
Quite a rich caramel-edged nose. Chewy, savoury palate with juicy berry fruit and a savoury edge. Expressive. Very good 82 (£9.00)

Evel Grande Escolha 2000 Douro
Taut, herb-tinged nose leads to a rich, juicy palate with good acidity and some tannic structure. Classically styled with a herbal edge to the fruit. Very good 84 (£18.00)

Grantom 2000 Douro
Quite a rich, sweetly fruited nose. The palate is juicy and herby with good concentration, some tannic structure and good acidity. You’d probably be justified in expecting a little more for this sort of money. Very good+ 85 (£23.95)

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