The 2009 Vintage Ports from Fonseca, Taylor's and Croft

Went to a very interesting tasting this morning. It was the declaration tasting of the Vintage Ports from the Fladgate Group: Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft.

I really liked them. These are incredibly concentrated, dense wines with lots of structure. The good news? Despite the reduced yields, prices will be pretty much the same as when the [...]

Exciting new releases from Douro producer Conceito

Very impressed by these new releases from Rita Ferreira’s Conceito. They’re all really good. The Branco and Bastardo are probably my favourites, though. And the label design is just wonderfully eccentric.

Conceito Branco 2009 Douro
13.5% alcohol. Distinctively packaged. Taut and intense nose with fresh citrus and grapefruit pith notes, as well as some white peach [...]

Organic in the Douro: Terra Prima and Altano

Organic viticulture in the Douro is not all that common. However, things may be changing. Two organic wines that have recently reached the marketplace are Symingtons Organic version of Altano, and Fonseca’s Terra Prima organic Port.

They’re both quite delicious. The organic Altano is a significant step up from the other Altano wines, with nice density, [...]

A Frenchman in Portugal: Francois Lurton's Douro wines

Francois Lurton (website here) makes wine in France, Chile, Argentina, Spain and now Portugal. He bought his first Douro property in 2006 (Quinta Beira), and has subsequently added a second (Quinta Malho).

I tried the 2008 releases, which include the two Quinta wines and two more commercial brands. I’ll be honest: I was a little disappointed with [...]

Four videos from the Douro

Just posted four more videos from the Douro. It’s part of a big write up on a visit to the Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman group (includes the Port houses Fonseca, Taylor’s, Croft and Delaforce).

The Douro valley viewed from the River:

Treading grapes at Quinta de Vargellas:

Croft’s Quinta do [...]

Lunch at the Harwood Arms followed by a great game

Had a brilliant day yesterday. It began with lunch at the Harwood Arms, together with Joe Wadsack, Will Willis and Stuart Bowman-Hood. Proceedings began with a pint of Sambrook’s junction: rich, a bit hoppy, and with a distinct note of eggy sulfide (Burton stink is the correct term for this?). This went very well with [...]

Scion: a tawny Port from the 1850s

A great privilege to be able to try this tawny Port, dating back to the 1850s. Taylor’s have acquired two pipes of it (a pipe is 600 litres, but with an older wine like this the barrels won’t be full), and are releasing it this December, at a price tag of £2500 a bottle. It’s [...]

The New Douro tasting 2008

Yesterday was the New Douro tasting at the Tate Modern in London. It has been going for a few years now, and it’s a great event. But it could be even better (more on that later).

The focus was on 2008s, which are just baby wines, but it is nice to get an early look at [...]

Vale Meão 2008: latest release from one of Portugal's greats

Vale Meão is one of the great Douro estates, responsible for some fantastic wines since their first vintage in 1999. This is the latest release: the 2008, which is a good vintage in the Douro. It’s following on from the fantastic 2007, and so most Port producers will not declare it. But the early signs [...]

Some superb single-quinta Ports

Vintage Port is one of the world’s great wines. It’s also relatively affordable compared with other great wines. But there’s an even better bargain in single-quinta Ports from shoulder vintages – those that might have been declared had they not been adjacent to already-declared years.

2008 was a really good vintage in the Douro, but most [...]