First taste: Wine & Soul Guru 2015, Pintas 2014 (Douro reds & Port)
It’s always a pleasure to catch up with the wines of Sandra Tavares da Silva and Jorge Serôdio Borges, this year tasting samples at home. Who is Wine and who is Soul I don’t know, but they are both Gurus!
From the Wine & Soul range, Guru – the white – is my favourite and a real stand out among Douro whites. Of the reds, in this vintage (which suffered from intermittent rain, my vintage report here), Pintas’ reds displayed the freshness and elegance which seems to be an attractive hallmark of 2014, whilst also having lovely concentration, focus and structure. Ripe tannins too (of those Douro wines I’ve tasted from this vintage thus far, the tannins generally seem more refined than in 2013, another vintage with rain at harvest).
I found the Manoella reds a touch vegetal and lighter than usual with a distinct red liquorice note – interesting when you consider that, historically, the Manoella vineyard was favoured for Tawny Port’s while the Pintas vineyard (just next door) was the source of Vintage Ports.
Here are my notes on my picks of the bunch, including Pintas Vintage Port 2014. The wines are imported into the UK by Corney & Barrow who also retail them. I have listed other stockists of these latest releases where found.
Wine & Soul Guru 2015 (Douro)
I’ve often remarked how this wine puts me in mind of new wave Yarra Chardonnay – taut, very tightly wound with plenty of flinty, reductive notes. The 2015 is no exception, but in this highly regarded vintage, (a bit like its Yarra contemporaries) it has a little more fruit weight than usual – a roundness to the mid-palate and a sweeteness to the fruit which lingers. Nonetheless, on days one & two, it remains tensile with lemon, exotic roasted lime/lime pith and steely grapefruit, the whole underscored by a whetstone minerality as well as more lifted flinty sulphides/curry powder notes (very attractive and energetic). It was fermented in new French oak barrels at low temperatures for 4 weeks, after which was aged for 5 months with battonage. 12.5% £27.95 at AG Wines
Wine & Soul Pintas Character 2014 (Douro)
A markedly deeper hue than Manoella. Blackberry and plum fruit to the nose and deliciously juicy palate. A lick of salt and schist minerality really emphasises this wine’s lovely freshness. Poised, persistent and elegant over the 3 days I tasted it, with a nice underpinning of fine but textural tannins and seamlessly integrated oak. Lovely to go now and into the mid-term. 14% £24.49 at AG Wines
Wine & Soul Pintas 2014 (Douro)
A deep, inky vibrant hue with, as you’d expect, a tighter, spicier nose than Pintas Character, with more evident new oak. Initially tight knit and, in consequence, a little drying going through but, as it opens up, there’s more juice to lubricate its plume of sooty tannins. By day 3 it’s really hitting its stride with perfumed blackcurrant, lingering oak spices and plenty of gravel and smoke to the back palate. The oak now supportive, as opposed to assertive. It needs time, but this vintage brings lovely freshness and definition to the fruit, making for a Pintas of power and elegance. Very promising. 14.5%
Wine & Soul Pintas Vintage Port 2014 (Douro)
Though initially sullen, with a bit of air, this sings with a violet-laced perfume; orange blossom and bergamot come into the heady mix as it opens up even more. Like the reds, this is very much a Port of the vintage, with almost a delicacy to it, and an animation thanks to its fresh, mineral, persistent acidity. The fruit – intensely sweet blackcurrant and balancing sour black cherry – is supported by powdery cocoa tannins which build and conglomerate in the mouth, forecasting a long life ahead. Bigger than you think! 20%