jamie goode's wine blog: Portuguese wines reviewed in WOFW 24

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

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').



At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Harry Palmer said...

Jaime, does WOFW taste blind?

At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Andrzej Daszkiewicz said...

Harry, apparently they taste blind. I could not find this stated explicitely, but reading through the notes I found phrases like "could this be Baga?", "I was left wondering where it came from" (this about Charme mentioned by Jamie). Jamie mentions disagreement among the tasters - in some cases the scores were all over the place, like 9-14,5-18,5 for the same wine! Maybe a root day for some is a fruit day for others? :-) Anyway, it is a very interesting article.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Mark Temple said...

Isn't Richard Mayson the one who makes the TWS wine, Pedra Basta? Good, there's another one off my list... :-)

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Arvid Rosengren said...

I haven't read the latest issue, I forgot to renew my subscription so I'm probably missing this issue.

But I'll say, if you taste Charme in a lineup like that, it will be blown away by sheer force. On the other hand, while I love Charme and hold it as one of the best portuguese wines I've tasted (only Niepoorts Robusto moved me more I think), I found the 2006 quite dull when I tried it a few months ago.

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Tommy Ronquillo said...

I have to say why do critics always give big scores to big darker inkier reds than say something lighter easier to drink and arguably more food friendly. I love Luis Pato reds and I think they are some of the best wines in all of Portugal especially the older single vineyard Baga's but I feel like they will never truly get the respect they have earned. Still don't know why wine is scored, nobody rates a Picasso 87 or a hamburger 91. You just can't drink points...


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