First taste: Maritávora – very superior Douro Superior wines from Jorge Serôdio Borges

Next Wednesday it’s the New Douro trade tasting at the Portuguese Embassy, London.  I had a sneak preview in Oporto last month and the standard of the wines was very high – lots to like (click here for my brief report).

Subsequently, I headed down to Lisbon for a 3 day generic tasting.  Though the Douro wines I tasted there were less consistent in quality, I was really excited to discover the wines of Quinta de Maritávora.  And guess what.  They’re made by none other than Jorge Serôdio Borges, he of Pintas and Passadouro fame.

Portugal’s dynamic top winemakers are ubiquitous, visiting their talents here and there.  Next week, I’m looking forward to finding out more about another Borges’ project, this time in the Dão.  It’s a joint venture with Francisco Olazabal of Quinta do Vale Meão (who already makes wine in the Dão at Quinta do Mondego), and Jorge Moreira of Poeira, Quinta de La Rosa and Real Companhia Velha.  The trio have leased Quinta do Corujão whose 2007 Reserva scooped the Dão Trophy 2010 at the International Wine Challenge Awards (click here for details).

Anyway, back to Maritávora.  Here are my tasting notes on two really exciting wines, especially the white – a real triumph for the Douro Superior, the easternmost and warmest Douro subregion.  Though as Borges’ wife, Sandra Tavares da Silva once told me, he particularly loves making white wines.

Quinta de Maritávora Reserva White 2009 (Douro)

Made from 100 plus year old vines, this is an exciting wine.  Though initially reduced on the nose and tight in the mouth, left to its own devices it opens up and is marvellously complex on the palate – like Borges’ own white wine Guru – I reckon it’s best to decant it young.   Salty (salt caramel as it opens up), tight, long, fine but muscular and mineral ripped, it’s an intense wine with great energy to its pear, pear skins and quince palate.  Showing just as well if not better over dinner.  12.5% abv

Quinta de Maritávora Reserva Red 2008 (Douro)

The vines are a little younger – 15-50 years old, but clearly old enough to endow this red with no shortage of minerality or freshness. It’s very deep in colour with a lovely floral nose, hints of woodsmoke and, in the mouth, classic Douro Superior orange peel/bergamot, chocolate and wood smoke.  Long, fine, seamless tannins, its minerality, freshness and succulent black plum core of fruit make for an elegant red.  Impressive. 14% abv.

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