Highlights from the New Douro tasting

douro portugal

Highlights from the New Douro tasting

Douro grapes

Yesterday’s New Douro tasting was one of the best yet. While the emphasis was on the 2009 vintage, producer’s also brought the odd older wine, which was appreciated. 2009 is a ripe, warm year, but despite the heat and lack of rain that characterized this vintage, the wines have a lovely purity and openness to them, with good structure underneath. They’re quite delicious. 2008 seems quite a different year, with more obvious structure and acidity, as well as good freshness.

The Douro has had a run of really good vintages since 2003, with perhaps 2006 being the only slightly disappointing year. All the others are different in personality, but very good. It’s a region whose table wines are now truly coming of age.

Here’s my pick of some of the most interesting wines, although I don’t want by any means to suggest that wines that haven’t made this list weren’t also great.

Lavradores de Feitoria Meruge 2003 Douro (magnum)
This has aged beautifully. It’s made in a lighter style, similarly to Dirk Niepoort’s Charme, with some stems. Fine expressive nose with some olive and mint notes as well as a bit of tarriness overlaying the ripe cherryish fruit. The palate is fine and super-elegant with brilliantly fine, spicy tannins and warm black cherry fruits. Superb. 95/100

Poiera 2009 Douro
Lovely sweet, fine supple fruit here. Ripe and seductive, but underneath the pure cherry and berry fruit there’s some structure and minerality. Lovely and expressive with direct fruit dominant at the moment, but more to come in the future. 95/100

Niepoort Redoma Tinto 1991 Douro
The first Redoma, and it’s ageing beautifully after going through an ugly duckling phase a while back. Sweet, spicy, seductive nose with lovely fruit and some earthy notes. The palate is thrilling with earthy undertones and vivid spiciness as well as lovely cherry fruit. It’s still tannic and has a good future ahead of it. 96/100

Niepoort Batuta 2005 Douro
A big, structured Batuta that’s just beginning to show some development. Dense, firm, taut and structured with lovely precise berry, cherry and plum fruit. Lovely firm yet not rustic structure is still dominant. A serious wine you can cellar and forget about for at least another decade. Brilliant. 96/100

Niepoort Robustus 2007 Douro
So fine and expressive, yet with restrained power and richness. Sweet dense cherry, plum and blackberry fruit has a seductive quality, yet it’s also showing restraint. Great purity and firm structure, coupled with good acidity. This has an immense potential for development. 97/100

Quinta do Crasto Superior 2009 Douro
Now this has to be one of the bargain wines of the Douro, sourced from Crasto’s new vineyards in the Douro superior. Second release. Lovely purity to the ripe, fresh cherry and plum fruit. Sleek and supple with a nice spicy edge. 92/100

Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional 2009 Douro
Touriga likes warm vintages, says Crasto’s Miguel Roquette. The warmth of 2009 has produced a fantastic Touriga here, with a beautifully aromatic nose of black chery, blackberry, olive and violet. The palate is sweet but structured with lovely vivid fruit. Delicious. 94/100

Alves de Sousa Vale de Raposa Sousão 2009 Douro
The first vintage of this wine. Tiago Alves de Sousa says that he’d always considered Sousão as just a blending component, but this was so good he had to bottle it separately. It’s deep coloured, rich and intense with lush, rounded black fruits and a smooth texture. Amazing depth here, with grippy tannins on the finish. It works. 94/100

Quinta do Vale Meão Touriga Nacional from granite 2009
As yet unnamed, this is a truly sensational Touriga Nacional from granite soils at Vale Meão. Schist is the norm for the Douro, but a bit of granite here has resulted in a ripe yet exceptionally fresh Touriga with thrilling aromatics of violets, plums and black cherries. The palate is fresh and exotically fruited with olive hints and some savoury tarriness alongside the fresh black cherry fruit. Just brilliant. 96/100

Wine & Soul Pintas 2009 Douro
One of the best vintages yet of this wine. Dense and structured yet so fresh and pure, with vivid black cherry fruit and nice firm yet fine tannins. Ripe and smooth but well defined, and not at all heavy. 95/100

Wine & Soul Quinta da Manoella Vieilles Vignes 2009 Douro
An exciting new wine. This is from Jorge Borge’s family property. He previously shared this and another Quinta (Fojo) with his sister. Now he’s taken control of this, and left Margarida to look after Fojo. This is the first wine from this 18 ha (of vines, 60 ha overall) quinta, and will be followed by a regular Manoella in March. He will carry on selling some of the grapes to Taylors. It’s a really silky, elegant wine with lovely pure berry and cherry fruits, backed up by firm stucture. It’s really fine, and I love it. 95/100

Casa Ferreirinha Antónia Adelaide Ferriera 2008 Douro
This new wine is a qualitative equal to Barca Velha, but made in a different style. It may be more modern, but it’s still a tannic bruiser, with powerful, tight, structured black fruits. The tannins are currently grippy and quite dominant, but this is set up for long ageing, and I reckon it will take a decade to begin to tame it. 94/100

Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas Reserva 1994
One of the unsung stars of Douro table wines, Ramos Pinto’s Reserva is consistently really good in an open, elegant style. This 1994 is ageing very nicely, with supple, seductive sweet elegant fruit and fine spicy tannins. 94/100

6 Comments on Highlights from the New Douro tastingTagged ,
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6 thoughts on “Highlights from the New Douro tasting

  1. Such a fine tasting here with some of the best wines from the Douro region.
    This shows that The Douro is a lot more then just Port Wines, i just love the extremely elegant fruit that comes from some of the best wines in Douro, the minerality…and they are wines that we’ll last years in the bottle…a perfect example of that is the well know Barca Velha.
    Hope some day you can post wines from Vinho Verde Region, because is the most dinamic region in Portugal now a days. Grapes like Alvarinho, Loureiro, Avesso in whites and Vinhão in reds are themost well know and regarded. Also winegrowers are making fantastic sparkling wines in this region also. Just care t try a sparkling wine from Alvarinho or Vinhão…just great and friendly to the food…Cheers Jamie for this post!I would kindly show you around in Vinho Verde…:)

  2. Sounds like a great tasting, have had the Pintas vintage 08 and the Curriculum Vitae from Van Zellers. Both great bottles of wine but so young. How do you think these kinds of wines will age, and whats your experience from older bottles?

    Thanks for a great blog, and from now I am one of your followers.

    Best regards David

  3. I try to promote VV as much as I can when helping out downtown. One of the store`s owner is from Portugal so we have an amazing selection of wines across the board.

    Bob Alberta.

  4. Thanks for the typo correction, now corrected on the post

    Rui, VV is an interesting region, and certainly dynamic, but I’m not sure I’d call it the most dynamic. Will post on this soon.

    In terms of ageability, Pintas 08 I reckon will age very well, but CV not my favourite style: already quite ripe and oak influenced, will probably be a mid-term ager, but if you like the way Rioja ages, this could be a long-term ager. Certainly lots of structure and depth of fruit.

  5. Hello again Jamie!
    When i say is the most dynamic now a days, is it because it was the region in where the consuming incresed the most in Portugal and outside of Portugal.In 2010 it was the region that increased the most in terms of %percentage consuming…The wines are getting better…much better and it as one thing in favour, they are less alcoolic and you get a nicer wine for a nicer price.

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