First impressions: New Douro releases (mostly 2010 reds and 2011 whites)

A favourite: 2010 plays well to its signature strength – elegance

I’m recently back from Oporto where, as last year, I spent a couple of days catching up with the latest Douro releases (mostly 2010 reds and 2011 whites). They will be shown in London at the New Douro tasting (a trade tasting) early in the New Year (date tbc).

Where the 2009 reds brought a smile to my face for their powerful ripe fruit, in 2010, the smile is about the juiciness, “consensual” tannins and sheer drinkability of these less inky than usual reds.   The night before I headed out, I opened an as yet to be bottled sample of Quinta de La Rosa Reserva 2010 and happily enjoyed it with dinner.

Funnily enough, apparently the wines were initially not so friendly in barrel – quite a few winemakers told me they had initially been concerned about the vintage.  So how was the year? Like 2009, summer was hot and dry however, because of a wet winter, water reserves were good so yields were significantly up on the low yielding 2009, hence the juiciness and approachability.  Still, it’s worth noting that, while the leading producers’ wines I tasted exhibited ripe, accessible tannins, according to Quinta do Crasto’s Manuel Lobo de Vasconcellos, you had to take care not to extract green, rustic, harsh tannins.  Caveat emptor.

As for the 2011 Douro whites, though it was hot and sunny in general, during August it wasn’t as hot and, with pronounced diurnal temperatures (cold nights), the whites are aromatic and well-focused. (A contrast with the fruitier, more forward 2010 whites at the same stage).  Of those red samples I tasted, the wines are much darker and more structured than the 2010s, with good acidity too (and the ‘vintage’ Ports looked Amazing).

I’ll write up a more detailed report with tasting notes after my second bite at the cherry (at the London tasting) but, for now, here’s my list of those wines which especially piqued my interest, starting with some good buy entry-level wines.

And watch this space next week for my report on some exciting new releases, including Barca Velha 2004, Sogrape’s new modern Douro red, Legado, Niepoort 170th anniversary VV Tawny and Alves de Sousa’s 20th anniversary non-vintage Douro red.

Whites

Altano White 2011

Quinta de Cidro Gewurtz 2011

Quinta do Vallado Moscatel Galego 2011

Duas Quintas 2011

Quinta da Gaivosa Vinhas Altas 2011

Conceito Branco 2011

Lavradores de Feitoria Meruge 2011

Guru 2011

Reds

Altano Red 2010

Quinta de la Rosa douRosa 2010

Quinta do Vale D. Maria Rufo do Vale D. Maria 2010

Quinta do Noval Labrador Syrah 2010

Po de Poeira 2010

Quinta da Gaivosa Vale da Raposa Sousao 2010

Quinta do Vallado  Touriga Nacional 2010

Passadouro Touriga Nacional 2010

Quinta de la Rosa Val da Clara 2010

Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Tinto 2010

Pintas Charcater 2010

Conceito Tinto 2010

Quinta do Vale Meao 2010

Quinta do Crasto Reserva 2010

Quinta do Crasto Vinha da Ponte 2010

Quinta do Vale D. Maria CV 2010

Quinta do Vale D. Maria CV Vinha do Rio 2010

Niepoort Batuta 2010

Niepoort Charme 2010

Passadouro  Passadouro Reserva 2010

Quinta da Manoella VV 2010

Poeira 2010

Quinta da Touriga Chã 2010



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