|Amazing vineyards at Quinta do vale Dona Maria|
Tag Archives: Port
Extremes (Douro, Portugal – Day Three)
Alright, still (Douro Valley, Portugal – Day Two)
|If it weren’t empty I would be making wine angels|
Niepoort – 17/07/2012
2011 Malolactic white
Very textural, creamy yet fresh and tropical in nature. Balanced and long, well-integrated but in need of some more time in the barrel.
Broad and soft, but focused with gentle tannins, some maturity and drive, great balance and already drinking well. Slight savoury character, almost reminiscent of tonkatsu sauce in a sweet and sour kind of way.
2010 Redoma Red
More intense and brooding, slightly more dark fruit characters, more of that mulberry. Slightly more classic Douro red profile, tighter tannins, but still a hint of tonkatsu.
Very intense and structured, powerful focused and expressive tannins, more layers of complexity that will take time to open up. More in the soy spectrum, beautiful with a sukiyaki. A sensational wine that is looking closed and reductive for now.
Dry White Port
Fine and focused, balanced but a little sharp and volatile. Needs more time to soften and then blended to make it a rich textural wine really good with food.
Rich round and viscous, sweet profile and so similar to muscatel sherry they would be indistinguishable.
A truly unique wine, like Cote-de-Nuits made in the Douro. Whole bunch maceration and partial fermentation, completed in barrel to give the wine a soft but very savoury funky character, unbelievable complex and long, and will age interestingly.
Rosy smoky toasty depth. Quite warm initially on the palate, but very focused and bold, nice concentration, dark fruits, velvety and full, will actually age gracefully in the bottle.
Nice dusty red earth characters, showing a little toastiness. Wonderful concentration and density, very tight and focused with a great core of acidity, the elegance is lurking in the background urging you to age it for at least 10 years.
Amazingly intense and brooding, concentrated but not expressive. Far too young to be showing anything, need to give it time to open up. Dense powerful bold and assured on the palate, wonderful integration of fruit, sweetness and alcohol. Very long and complex on the palate, supple and slightly savoury on the back. Need to see it again in a couple more years.
Lovely subtle yet bright fruit nose, very elegant caramel influence, not a lot of nut or oxidative elements. Full and intense, exceptional focus and precision, balance and intensity, freshness.
Very fine, complex and subtle, smoky creamy milk chocolate and wonderful orange characters, some bright red fruits, fresh and lively and full of life and vibrancy. Very special wine. Still retaining some sweetness but the savoury notes showing through beautifully.
|Old Niepoort bottles|
Quinta do Vallado – 17/07/2012
Vibrant fresh citrus and apple notes, very tight and direct. Brisk intense acids and quite lean and clean fruit, slightly unripe in a really good way, nice green fruit character.
Moscatel Galego Branco 2011
Lovely musky floral notes, clean minerality. Fresh and quite simple, not sure what’s missing in this wine, needs more character, maybe some texture, really make things crazy like skin contact fermentation…
Branco Reserva 2011
Certainly more barrel and lees notes, some creaminess adding to the citrus and lemongrass elements. Very slight green melon notes. White burgundy style, very young and only seeing the barrel elements. Has the structure and acidity to hold out but somewhat closed now.
Nice soft mellow nose of spice and red fruits, very subtle toasty elements, some earth elements as well. Bright fresh red fruits, n and good acids, a little warm on the front of the palate. Very pure and approachable, but lacking a bit of depth.
Deeper characters, slightly closed ripe black fruits, very well integrated oak but slightly rustic wild characters. Amazing texture, finesse and structure, not obvious fruit or tannins, not at all sweet or hot, all about mouth-feel. Truly unique wine, but agree that it is a polariser.
Touriga Nacional 2010
Slightly rosy and a little reductive, very classic touriga nacional on the nose. Wonderfully fresh and vibrant, not at all fruit sweet, showing some red fruits, some menthol and eucalypt notes. Wonderful consistency on the palate, but will soften quite nicely picking up some suppleness.
Expressive yet complex, bold yet subtle, fruit yet oak, young yet mature. Quite intense but also hinting at some suppleness in the future. Oak quite subtle and not interfering too much. Needs time to be sure, but easy to appreciate now. Layers and layers, more with time.
Adelaide VP 2009
Wonderfully floral, bright purple fruits, maraschino cherries, very subtle choc-mint characters. Bingo-bango-bongo expression of fruit, quite sweet at the moment, but a nice clean finish and some good extension on the back of the palate. Beautifully intense but far too young.
10 year old tawny
Smoky caramel, freshness and liveliness. Complex oxidative notes but also very fresh. Certainly exhibits a little bit of the nut characters, but is more about the freshness and the complexity of the age.
20 year old tawny
A little more aggressive on the nose, smoky and toastier, a little volatile on the nose. Sweetness and complexity comes through, but finding the texture a little too full. It almost distracts from the age and complexity.
|Quinta do Vallado uses my favourite cooper, Francois Freres|
Quinta do Noval – 16/07/2012
Cedro do Noval (Vinho Regional Duriense (30% syrah, touriga nacional, touriga franca, tinto roriz)
Bright purple colour, intense but not heavy in colour. Bright juicy yet spicy dark fruit aromas, some interesting floral notes. Fresh full-flavoured clean, great acidity and intensity of fruit. Balanced approachable but structured and with personality.
Quinta do Noval Douro DOC 2008
More intense purple, more extraction and depth. Smoky toasty notes of dark berries, more intense and extractive on the nose. Very intense and dark on the palate, but surprisingly fresh and lifted on the palate. Crunchy toast oak adding to texture but not adding any sweetness. Intense but complex elegant and structured. Still a bit tight.
Noval Black Reserve
Soft jubey plummy cassis and blackcurrant. Intense full and spicy warm, fresh finish and balanced alcohol and sweetness, velvety and dense but clean and juicy, well structured and worth ageing a little bit.
Quinta do Noval LBV 2005
Rounder and fuller, sitting more in the mid-palate. Better balance throughout and extension on the back of the palate, slightly more savoury maturity, serious considered port wine, powerful yet haunting.
Noval ten-year old
nice sweet nutty and toasty dry red fruits and carob spice. Bold yet smooth, very casky and nutty in youth, bright and fresh, clean yet complex, balanced and pure. Excellent clarity of purpose.
Noval twenty year old
Denser fuller and more viscous, more subtle nut characters, almost an almond Magnum flavour to it, nice texture. Opulent rich and yet focused and toasty. Not quite enough difference between 10 and 20 in my opinion.
Quinta do Noval 2008 VP
Spicy mulberry clove green pepper notes. Really intense and not sweet, dry full and powerful, broad yet focused and structured, balanced and long on the palate, but obviously far too young and in need of a lot of time in bottle. A wine too early to see much expression.
|Noval Ten Year Old Tawny Port|
Quinta do Vale Meao – 16/07/2012
Wonderfully intense purple colour, very deep. Very aromatic spicy black fruit, concentrated and intense on the nose, complex and somewhat closed at the moment. Very soft supple very focused and nice firm tannins, subtle fruit slightly disagreeing with the nose, balanced and well integrated, supporting oak not influencing at all.
Vale Meao 2009
More rustic earthy stalky and brown on the nose, slightly dusty dark red fruits. More intense and fruit sweet, dark and certainly a big influence of new French oak, persistent and concentrated but elegant and full without weight or heat. Will benefit with some time in bottle.
Vintage Port 2002
Less obviously porty on the nose, nice bright dark red fruit aromas with some very subtle toasty smoky notes. Beautifully tight and concentrated, elegant and balanced with finesse and structure, focus and drive. Not heavy or alcoholic until the very back of the palate, well integrated tannins.
|Oak fermentation vats at Quinta do Vale Meao|
Déjà vu (Douro Valley, Portugal – Day One)
|High above the vineyards of the Douro|
Porto to the past (Porto, Portugal – Day Two)
In case you weren’t aware (and I certainly wasn’t), the Douro Valley where port wine is produced was the first officially demarcated viticultural areas in the world in 1756, although Chianti and Tokaji were regionally defined but not regulated before this. The actual viticulture and initial fermentation is no different to any other red wine, but the fruit can tend to be a little riper with more natural sugar in it. After the fortification the wine used to travel down the river on boats in barrels, but today the wine travels on the road in climate controlled tanks. When you visit Vila Nova de Gaia on the left bank of the Douro in Porto, you can still see the barcos rabelos moored and floating, and now they are only used for racing and tourism. British merchants were permitted to import port at a low duty in 1703 which led to the wine gaining much popularity, partly because the war with France deprived English wine drinkers of French wine. The English involvement in the port trade grew much like in sherry, and still remains today in the names of many port shippers such as Cockburn, Croft, Gould, Osborne, Offley, Sandeman, Taylor, Graham, Dow and Warre, the last three of which are owned by the same family and I had the chance to taste on my second day in Porto.
|Port boats docked in Villa Nova de Gaia|
Hard a’ port (Porto, Portugal – Day One)
Only a week a go I was talking about a style of wine considered to be very old-fashioned and makes one think of old British movies. This wine was sherry, and it is interesting that about two weeks later I am here where they produce the other wine that comes to mind which is port. Sherry and port share a few things in common apart from being thought of as an old persons drink. Firstly they are both fortified wines, but in the case of port the fortification is made during the fermentation to stop it and retain a residual sugar, whereas sherry with the exception of pedro ximenez and muscatel are fortified after the fermentation. Secondly the fortification was important for the transportation and spread of port as it was for sherry, but it was actually British wine merchants who introduced the process into port whereas the Moors introduced it in sherry. The third similarity is with the fact that like dry sherries, cask-aged port doesn’t age in the bottle and should be consumed pretty soon after bottling, whereas vintage port ages in the bottle and can keep for a very long time indeed. The first fundamental difference between the two is that the vast majority of port is made from red grapes, whereas more sherry is made from white grapes. Along the same lines, almost all port is sweet whereas the majority of sherry is either dry or medium-dry. Like sherry however, port is also undervalued and underappreciated, and the best examples are truly exceptional wines regardless of their style.
|The port halls of Taylor’s|
Warre’s – 14/07/2012
Warrior Ruby Reserve
Nice spicy black fruits, Christmas style wine, very slight floral elements. Soft sweet brightness, smooth and long, nice and velvety and rich, nicely balanced sweetness. Brightness, sweetness and really approachable, exactly what you want from a ruby port.
LBV 2001 Unfiltered
Nice ruby creamy bright nose, showing some nutty characters, quite concentrated. Rolling flavours, quite complex, sweetness of ripe red fruits with a very creamy nutty texture, showing some nice characters of maturity, robust and full on the palate, good acids tying things together.
Otima 10 year old
Very subtle and smoky caramel. Crisp fresh and bright amazingly, tight and oxidative almost like an amontillado. Very intense and note really that sweet until very late on the palate. A very unique port wine.
Quinta da Cavadinha VP 1989|
Colour already starting to tawny up in colour. Almost like an old wine rather than an old port, fresh soft focused not sweet vey much, smooth yet brisk, showing its age.
|Warre’s Otima 10 year old Tawny|