In the Douro (5) Quinta do Crasto

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Quinta do Crasto is one of the important properties in the story of table wine in the Douro. The first table wines were made here in the mid-1990s under the direction of David Baverstock. Remarkably, we got to try a magnum of the first vintage, the 1994 Reserva. It was quite beautiful: it still had fruit, and tasted of the Douro.

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We visited with winemaker Manuel Lobo de Vasconcellos and Miguel Roquette, whose family own Crasto. [Miguel is currently living in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where his wife is working as a TV presenter, but was visiting.] It was a gorgeous day, and the views were quite stunning.

maria teresa

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Crasto now have 300 hectares of vines. 78 hectares are here at the Quinta, and there is a 114 hectare estate in the Douro Superior, too, as well as isolated parcels of vines elsewhere in the Cima Corgo.

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The Reserva Old Vines is an important wine for Crasto and the Douro. Made in reasonable quantities (70-80 000 bottles), this wine has done very well in the USA, where it has helped put Douro table wines on the map.

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The basic Crasto red is affordable and delicious, and is one of the wine world’s bargains. Crasto Superior, a notch above it in price, is also superb. The top quartet of wines are the varietal Touriga Nacional (very pretty, bold, modern and aromatic) and Tinta Roriz (begins life horribly oaky, but ages well), and the single vineyard Vinha da Ponte and Maria Teresa (these are exceptional, but now fiercely expensive, alas).

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