Douro – 2006 vintage
The hallmark of this vintage is relatively forward wines, with less extract and stuffing than usual but, on the upside, nice elegance and lift with the Touriga twins’ (Nacional and Franca) lovely floral notes to the fore.
And the reason for this state of affairs – an early harvest book-ended by uncommonly high temperatures in the last week of August and first fortnight of September and rains from 20 September. Heavy rains in October trounced the chances of a widely declared vintage for port – only a handful of vintage ports this year.
Here is my cream of the crop, including a few 2007 whites and rosés that snuck into the tasting!
Altano Reserva 2006 – elegant, good freshness though the American oak shows; bruised plums, raspberry and svelte tannins. A neat package.
Dow Quinta do Bomfim 2006 – succulent black and red cherry fruit with grippy, firm tannins and attractive lifted violets.
Dow Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira Single Quinta Vintage Port 2006 – inky black and quite raw and peppery with some floral lift; quite angular now but good potential.
Prats & Symington Post Scriptum 2006 – floral, with violets and rock rose, wild red and black fruits of the forest and a touch of chocolate. Elegant with silky tannins – a lovely lithe wine.
Prats & Symington Chryseia 2006 – lovely lifted nose, floral with beautiful fruit purity. Very silky and scented with fine tannins and savoury toast hints. Very good.
Churchill Estates Rose 2007 – 100% Touriga Nacional – very floral rock rose, almost rose turkish delight which filters through on an exotic, opulent but dry palate.
Lavradores de Feitoria Tres Bagos Viosinho 2007 – fresh and mineral core, with green apricot and almond and an oiliness around the edges.
Lavradores de Feitoria Quinta Costa da Costa das Aguaneiras 2006 – mostly Touriga Nacional from south-facing slopes, it’s rich and chocolatey, spicy and floral but with an intrinsic elegance.
Niepoort Tiara 2007 – very pure, very Riesling-esque with lime, lemon, talc and a powder puff exoticism though with rounder fruit, Mineral, saline undertow and good zip. A touhc of wood here and vineyards at 400-800m.
Niepoort Redoma Branco 2007 – a fresh nose with sweet andd smoky oak, fresh but rich citrus and great balance.
Niepoort Redoma Branco Reserva 2007 – very herbs and flowers nose and palate with pronounced minerality, lovely texture and mouthfeel; limpid and long.
Niepoort Vertente 2006 – vibrant raspberry with a lick of chocolate; upfront but dry and well balanced.
Niepoort Redoma Tinto 2006 – no Batuta in 2006 so Redoma is fresh and sinewy, firm and tight knit with well-defined red and black fruits. Very mineral; impressively hewn.
Niepoort Charme 2006 – pale red, the oak is present but as with the hue, a lovely delicacy to the red fruits here on nose and palate – no treading this year to preserve minerality; elegant, intense – very good potential.
Quinta do Crasto Douro Red 2006 – always a good buy and this is particularly fresh, floral and balanced – a lovely digestible wine a.k.a quaffer with class.
Quinta do Crasto Douro Reserva 2006 – much gripper with darker fruit and chocolate; well made.
Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional 2006 – an impressive Touriga with its trademark glossy svelteness. I prefer edgier blends but this will have plenty of fans.
Quinta do Crasto Vinha Maria Teresa 2006 – 95 year old vines make for great balance, this is dark fruited, with very smooth, chocolatey tannins and a lovely freshness.
Quinta da Gaivosa Abandonado 2006 – one of my favourite Douro wines with a heft of wild black fruit, eucalyptus, dust and smoked pepper; oodles of character and a certain “Barossa Aussieness” to its grunt.
Quinta do Vale Meao Meandro 2006 – exotic with chocolate orange and earthy plummy ripe fruits’ grainy tannins – good.
Quinta de la Rosa douROSA Tinto 2006 – floral, fresh with Beaujolais-esque tangy fruits of the forest.
Quinta de la Rosa Tinto 2006 – very floral, forward and succulent.
Quinta do Vallado Touriga Nacional 2006 – rich and ripe with succulent black cherry and lifted violets; nice length, very good.
Quinta do Vale Dona Maria VZ White 2007 – very limpid, mineral wine with a backdrop of oak; very good potential.
Pintas Guru White 2007 – lovely richness and depth of flavour yet with clarity and levity.
Pintas Character Douro Red 2006 – sweet raspberry, raspberry ripple, morello cherry and violets; succulent and forward.
Pintas Douro Red 2006 – firm tannins, quite tight, dark black fruits but showing floral nuances as it opens up in the glass; very long. Lots of potential.