Visiting the Dao & Beira Interior

I’m visiting Portugal several times this year on my quest to discover 50 Great Portuguese Wines – I have the honour of making this selection for an annual tasting event in 2010, having won The Portuguese Annual Wine Awards Portuguese Wine Writer of the Year Award 2009.

This trip focused on northerly regions  since I was particularly keen to re-visit the Dao and also, for the first time, go to the relatively unknown but high potential Beira Interior region.  It was an intense voyage of discovery and these are my tasting highlights.

The Dao – a generic tasting

Casa de Mouraz Encruzado 2008 (maiden vintage) – peachy, quite lively with lemony acidity and a slightly bitter peach and apricot skin edge and touch of vegetality (olive?) that I often find in Portuguese wines.  Casa Mouraz are certified organic and, while clean and modern, this unoaked wine shows plenty of character; natural yeast, lees ageing and batonnage impart texture.

Casa de Mouraz Branco 2008
– unoaked blend with a rich, ripe nose and round but textured palate.  Tangy with citrus and a touch of sweaty armpit /matchstick and spice. Nice depth layer, balanced by citrus acidity.

Casa de Mouraz 2006
– 20% barrique-aged; a closed nose but the palate is more expressive and super svelte with a swirl of dark black fruits and chocolate; melt in the mouth tannins.

Quinta da Bica Tinto 2004
– a complex, mellow blend of Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz with a lovely fruit compote nose with spice.  In the mouth it has a plump blue and black berry core of fruit with floral and liquorice top notes and tarry/warm earth bass notes; mellow and ripe but firming up a bit on the finish – really enjoyable.

Quinta da Bica Tinto 2005 – More closed and structured with red rather than black and blue fruits (plum, raspberry), creamy but not as exuberant as the 04 and edged with cinnamon spice.  Nice acidity/freshness and firmer tannins – a hint of green, but in balance.

Quinta da Bica Tinto Reserva 2004
50% Touriga Nacional with Jaen, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz.  Bright and dark with a lovely floral-edged melange of chocolate, liquorice, raspberry, pomegranate and plum flavours.  There’s a sweetness and sourness to its fruit, balance also coming in the form of a savouriness.  Well managed, textured tannins. Very good.

Quinta da Bica Tinta Reserva 2005 – a hint of eucalyptus to its plum and jammy, earthy raspberry and dark berry fruit with coffee, clove and star anise.  Well defined with more heft of tannin  –  grainy and a touch astringent on finish, but good.

Vinha Paz 2007 – 50% Touriga Nacional with Tinta Roriz, Jaen and a small percentage of Alfrocheiro.  A little reduced on nose but nicely integrated primary fruit on palate, succulent plum, black cherry, raspberry, some chocolate, nice natural balance – quite complete, touch rustic but good for it.

Vinha Paz Reserva 2005
– 80% Touriga Nacional with Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro; Some new French oak and foot treading in lagares.   Rich ripe, smoky nose and palate, with gobs of red and mostly black cherry and berry fruit.  An underlying cool freshness maintains balance, as do structured fine grained tannins.  Quite long with some liquorice on the finish – a baby and promises more complexity with some years under its belt.  Very good.

Vinha Paz Reserva 2006 – pretty, fresh, floral and pure with plum, it verily dances over the palate though tannins offer firm support on the smoky, eucalypt-edged finish.

Quinta  da Falorca T-Nac 2006
– an unoaked Touriga Nacional (hence the snappy name suggested by fellow writer Charles Metcalfe).   Touriga can be very lush and dark but this offers nice freshness to the plum and cinnamon nose and very Dao, so fresh, lively and drier with a lovely purity of damson and plum with lifted liquorice and fruit spice.

Quinta da Falorca T-Nac 2007 – more lavish, vibrant fruit with black cherry and lifted floral and cinnamon notes.  Still very Dao with a lovely silkiness to its floral-edged fruit – rock rose, fine tannins, black cherry with grounding Green and Blacks dark chocolate.

Quinta da Falorca Reserva 2003
– a Touriga Nacional dominated oaked blend this has a deep colour and spicy, five spice nose and palate with succulent plum fruit.  The oak is quite present with a coconut opulence to the fruit but still, good balancing freshness and well managed tannins.

Quinta da Falorca Reserva 2004
– melted blackberry fruits and jam on the nose and palate, this is super fruity with a bit of tar and blackcurrant wine gum in a good way and an attractive twist of sour cherry.  Big tannins too, a touch dry on the finish.

Quinta da Falorca Garrafeira 2003
– aged in wood 24 months and bottle 12 months this is mostly Touriga Nacional blended with c 80 year old Alfrocheiro and Touriga Roriz.  It has a dense, brambly nose with some eucalypt.  In the mouth it’s a firm, dry style with a sourness/freshness to its dark berry fruit and slightly woody tannins.  Needs food.

Quinta da Falorca Garrafeira 2004
– a less dark fruit spectrum tham the 2003 with some herbal, bitter chocolate notes to its perfumed, blueberry and wild bilberry fruit with vanilla.  Good.

The Dao – a visit with Dao Sul

Dao  Sul are one of the Dao’s most innovative producers and, though they own key estates in the Dao, they also make wines from other Portuguese regions and some exciting idiosyncratic international blends too!  This was a quick tasting over lunch – watch out for some more detailed notes later this year.

Winemaker Carlos Lucas is convinced that the Dao is the place to make white wine in Portugal. He says granite soils and the fact that the summer is not too hot means the acid balance is very good.

Cabriz Encruzado 2008 – barrel fermented and matured for 4 months oak this has brisk acidity with some coconutty opulence to its stone and tropical fruits; very good freshness.

Casa de Santar Paco dos Cunhas de Santar 2007
– a small 12 ha parcel within the beautiful Casa de Santar, worked organically (and experimenting with biodynamics).  The approach here is Burgundian, so this wine is barrel fermented and matured for 8 months in French oak and lees stirred.  It’s complex, intense and beautifully balnaced with a quite funky, savoury, struck match nose.  On the palate it has a good concentration of fruit, layered, well balanced, nice depth with fennel and pear.

Piao 2003 – a Vinha de Mesa with Nebbiolo from Piedmont and Touriga Nacional from the Dao.  Also made in 2005.  A very Nebbiolo nose, with dreid sage and sweet fruit behind.  The palate is very tight and smoky initially though the Touriga fleshes out the palate the Nebbiolo really dominates this in terms of structure and tightness.  Very good – needs time.

Quinta das Tecedeiras Vintage Port 2007
– very deep colour, quite curranty, grippy, palate very dark fruits with coffee.  The estate is next door to Roriz, 2km from the river with sun from morning to night.  Very good.

A tasting at Alianca with  wines from different producers and regions

Aveleda Follies range

Aveleda Follies Alvarinho/Loureiro 2008 (Vinho Verde) – the maiden vintage of this blend, it has a very limey nose and palate, mandarin (sweet citrus) floral notes and is quite Riesling-like.  Fresh, not as tight fruit on the palate with melon as well as citrus.  Good.

Aveleda Follies Alvarinho 2008 (Vinho Verde) – with small berries and lots of tannin, Alvarinho requires care need care and, outside its Vinho Verde heartlands, (Melgaco & Moncao) a special microsite to esnure ripeness.  Quite a tight on the attack with a greeness, it rounds out on the palate showing distinct fennel notes to its mandarin (sweet citrus); the lees impart textural richness.

Aveleda Follies Touriga Nacional 2005 (Bairrada) – good varietal character with dark plum and chocolate on the nose and palate; ripe but with good Bairrada freshness and fine tannins.

Alianca

Alianca have wide-ranging vineyards across Portugal; Michel Rolland now Pascal Chatonnet consult.

Quinta da Rigodeira Reserva 2005 (Bairrada) – one of 2 Bairrada estates, this one with more red clay (the other is Quinta das Baceladas which is stony and sandy with white clay).  It’s quite traditional but well done, with dark plum , damson, spice, firm tannins.

Quinta da Garrida Reserva Dao 2005 – a deep colour and this ripe fruit sees 100% new oak (French and Russian, 300l barrels for 12 months).  Attractive plush texture with fresh but dark berry and plum fruit and dark chocolate.

Quinta da Garrida Reserva Dao 2004
– a better vintage than 05 (which was very hot) this shows chocolate edged red and black fruits on nose and palate with more floral lift.  Smart, modern well done with a lovely freshness.

Quinta da Terrugem 2006 (Alentejo) – a very dry year then it rained from the beginning of september.  Nonetheless this has good freshness to its plum and grainy raspberry fruit; earthy tannins.  Well made.

Quinta da Dona Bairrada 2004 – a parcel within Rigodeira this 100% Baga comes from a well-exposed slope.  It is only made in good years and shows ripe plum with floral hints.  Very nicely structured, balanced palate with a good saturation of plum and cherry fruit with an earthy, mineral undertow and good freshness – atheletic! Subtle, with good length.

Sidonia de Sousa, Bairrada

A traditional Baga producer – this wine is the last vintage made from c. 100 year old vines that were since grubbed up – they became too difficult to work.  The estate’s vines now vines average 15 years old and Merlot and Touriga Nacional have been planted – not sooo traditional then, no doubt influenced  by the relaxtion of DOC laws.  Today grape varieties other than the unforgiving Baga are permitted for DOC Bairrada wines.  Only DOC Bairrada Classico requires a minimum of 50% Baga.

Garrafeira 2005
– 100% baga, naturally fermented in open vats with pigeage, this has a tight nose, a little reduced.  The palate is quite sweet with lifted violets, red cherry, almost cherry lips – more Nebbiolo than Pinot Noir it has fine but present tannins.  Very unreconstructed, but good.  Most definitely a food wine whose sweet fruit and structure would work well with the traditional match, suckling pig.

Campolargo, Bairrada

A 3rd third generation family business run by Jorge Campolargo, unusual for its early focus on international grape varieties.  Though the traditional focus was, in the main,  on grape growing, from the 2000 vintage Campolargo has focused on making some of the region’s most innovative wines and a new state of art gravity-fed cellar was built in 2004.

Branco Arinto Barrique 2008 – with good acidity, this is lemony, crisp, quite oaky but very refreshing with a stony minerality. 12.5%

Vinha do Putto 2006
– the mix changes every year, this is quite pale, red, with a lentil earthiness to its ripe but well defined red berry and plum fruit. Very approachable and good value. 12.5%

Vinha do Putto 2007
– quite pale red, more herbal, more masculine, with deeper fruit  – more of a Caberent Sauvignon sense to it with plum and herbal notes, more structure, fruit depth and character.  Good.

Contra a Corrente 2008 – 50% Cab Sav, 25% Tinto Cao and 25% Castelao Nacional – a dark, masculine, curranty nose and palate with tobacco/herbal edges. Very good; elegant.

Contra a Corrente 2005 – +50% Cab Sav, less 50% tinto cao – deep curranty nose, gd depth of fruit here, with elegance, some floral notes, elegance s the key thing here, black and only juts into blue fruits….13.5%

Campolargo 2007 – 100% Pinot Noir – good varietal character though lacks a bit of freshness/definition with earthy plum and red cherry, some chocolate.  Fairly warm, but a good effort (14.5%).  I’ve enjoyed this wine when it’s been blended with Baga which gives that biot more spine.

Entre Deux Santos 2007 – Sauvignon Blanc/Arinto – fruity with good Sauvignon typicity it’s applely with a cruncy, crisp greeness.  Very good.

Dao Tinto 2006
– 60% Touriga Nacional with Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz, Pinot Noir – the vineyard was planted several years ago and the 1st wine made at Alvaro Castro’s cellar.  A tight palate with balsamic and eucalypt notes to its plum and berry fruit – quite sour and sanguine.  Good freshness and supporting tannins behind – well done.

Quinta de Baixo, Bairrada

Established in 2002 and focused on local varieties,  Sergio Silva is the winemaker and co-proprietor with 2 others.  The vineyards are based in Bairrada’s southern valley with more limestone and sandy soils.

Before the tasting of finished wines we tasted some exciting wines direct from barrel – the white reserva showed great promise – very structured, mineral and racy and the Baga Merlot showed bright red cherry fruit supported by fine tannins – again, lots of promise.

Quinta de Baixo Colheita Branco 2008 (Bairrada) –  grapey, lemony, slightly peppery nose, quite round, juicy, clean, well made.

Quinta de Baixo Branco  Reserva 2006
(Bairrada) – quite rich, with an attractive tang, it stays on fine lees for 8 months and is 12 months in used barrels, so subtle oak.  Quite semillon like flavour-wise with a lemony, textured palate but it’s fresher with a etched acidity.   Good.

Quinta de Baixo Blaudus sparkling 2007 (Bairrada) – good character and structure this is dry, so quite grown up for entry level with applely fruit –good for oysters.

Quinta de Baixo Lagar de Baixo sparkling 2007
(Bairrada) – with Baga it has a finer, persistent bead, dry with bitter almond notes, lemony fresh fruit and a bit more complexity.

Quinta de Baixo Brut Natural Sparkling 2007 (Bairrada) – much fruitier nose of lemon and quince. 15% of the wine sees oak and it is rounder yet drier and firmer.

Quinta de Baixo Colheita Red 2006
(Bairrada) – 50:50 Baga/Touriga Nacional – a deep colour but medium bodied with rock rose, redcurrant and berry fruit and dried spice. It lacks a bit of flesh and the tannins are a little dry but it is  clean and well made – needs food.

Quinta de Baixo Grande Escolha 2005
(Bairrada) –  bright colour, deep, lots of rock rose and some Syrah really fills out the mid palate with its plum, red berry/cherry fruit and spice.  It tightens up on finish with grainy ripe tannins and good length.  Very good.

Beira Interior

A large region inland from the Dao and bordering Spain, bookmarked by the Douro Superior to the north and Alentejo to the south.  Production was traditionally driven by co-operatives and focused on white table wine but this is changing fast with some exciting pockets of ambition.

The region is very dry with a continental climate which, given the region’s elevation (vineyards at 300-700m), makes for some very cold nights and winters.  The best wines are well-defined, medium-bodied, elegant and fresh.

For whites, Siria (called Roupeiro in Alentejo and Codega in the Douro) makes deliciously citrus wines, sometimes with a dash of residual sugar, always with lipsmacking acidity.  Fonte Cal is a little more restrained and mineral and has good potential.  For reds, the local varieties Ruferte and Moroufo are the stuff of quaffers and the real excitement lies with the Douro/Dao varieties – Tourigas Nacional and Franca, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Alfrocheiro et al, though Syrah also looks promising.

Castelo Rodrigo Siria 2008 –  from vineyards at c. 600-700m this shows tropical fruit with lychee and succulent pear flavours with a sweet honeyed edge and pastis (?); well balanced acidity gives length.  Forward and fruity with subtle oak.  Great value.

Andrade Almeida/Oscar Almeida

A very promising producer who started making wine in 2004 – though they’ve grown fruit for around 100 years it was sold to a co-operative to whom they still sell half of the fruit from their 8 hectares.

Oscar Almeida Versus Siria 2008 – 13% – very juicy fruity acidity balances its touch of residual sugar and lychee, rum baba tropical, honeyed fruit – no heaviness here, well done.  Unoaked wine from vineyards at 600m.

Oscar Almeida Versus Tinto 2006
– 13% –  a blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barocca, Vinhao, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional which, though deep in colour has an attractive, floral, peppery nose and palate with violets and rock rose and red and black fruits.  2006 was a tricky year and the tannins are quite drying – it needs the right food and a couple of years’ bottle age to lose some corners.

Pinhel

A pretty traditional co-operative.

Pinhel Joao 1 – a medium to light-bodied table wine from this co-operative, – gently fruity with peppery red and black fruits, rustic but fair cheap rustic quaffer.

Pinhel 2006 – a blend of Ruferte and Moroufo, Beiras’ traditional varieties so not big on colour and with light-medium body of crunchy, redcurrant fruit; simple but different rustic quaffer.

SOC Baracas

The Baracas family own 13 properties and sold their fruit to the Pinhel co-operative, only making their first wine in 2006.  Some very well made, clean, fruity commercial wines that shoud be snapped up by larger retailers.

ENTR3 Vinhas Reserva 2008 – Malvasia Fina, Siria – a green edge to this, with white pepper, almond and that tropical Siria fruit.  No oak.  Well made and packaged too – a good modern quaffer

ENTR3 Vinhas Rose 2008 – a blend of Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz it sports a fresh, floral nose and palate with crunchy red fruit; some residual  –  a good commercial rose with nice persistent acidity.

Quinta dos Barreiros (Luis Robordeo e Castro)

Gravato Palhete 2005 – an idiosyncratic light red made from white and red grapes (Tourigas Nacional & Franca, Tinta Barroca and Siria) it has tons of fruit, that sweet exotic pina colada Siria quality but texture and freshness too.  Quite long, floral and exotic…not to everyone’s taste but interesting! 13%

Gravato 2004 Touriga Nacional – unoaked – quite floral nose with pepper and black berry fruit.  Good intensity and typicity in the mouth – very floral palate with black cherry and chocolate.  Well done.

Quinta dos Termos

Certified organic 3 years ago, the 1st wines come from the 2001 harvest.

Quinta dos Termos Sparkling Bruto – Baga –  a very deep colour, with a fruity exuberance and cinnamon edge it has sweetness and dryness as well as bubbles with some tannin so a fizz for food, would cut well through suckling pig or kid.

Quinta dos Termos Trincadeira (Tinta Amarela) Reserva 2006
– quite earthy warmth, eucalypt.  Sweet berry fruit on the palate, nice and round, generosity of fruit with a freshness.  Spicy, balmy charcter – characteristic of grape variety here,  well done.

Quinta dos Termos Reserva do Patrao 2006
– 100% Syrah from 3 year old vines this has a deep colour, an exuberant berry nose, very clean, with well -defined plum and berry fruit, spicy warmth and a nice freshness too.  Dryish tannins on finish, it see 100% new French oak for 18 months.  Lots of potential.

Quinta dos Currais

With consultancy from Vines and Wines, these were among the most exciting wines – lots of finesse.

Quinta dos Currais Colheita Seleccionado 2007
– 50% Fonte Cal (typical from Beiras and gives minerality and mouthfeel), 25% Siria, 25% Arinto – deep yellow, with a very tropical Siria nose and palate with pear, struck match and a thrust of lemony acidity.  Puts me in mind of Santorini’s Assyrtiko from Greece for its struck match and mineral, racy character.  Very interesting; good.

Quinta dos Currais Siria 2008
– paler, bottled 2 weeks ago – no oak, sweet pear, poached pear, pineapple, that syrupy edge, but with zesty, citrussy acidity for balance.  Well done but I prefer the blend for its minerality/stoniness.

Quinta dos Currais 2007
– Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Castelao and Rufete – a fresh un-worked nose with a pronounced floral lift to its summer fruit compote (especially black cherry) and cinnamon nose and palate.  Quite firm grainy tannins give texture and there’s a hint of chocolate in the mouth.
Well done and wears its 14.5% exceptionally well – very sensitive, sensual winemaking.

Quinta dos Currais Reserva 2003 – a vibrant hue with a deeper, darker nose, though still with a heady floral note.  A really sensual, well-balanced palate shows succulent black and red cherry, bright pomegranate, round plum and heady raspberry ripple fruit with supple tannins.  Lots of finesse here drawing you back to glass.  50% Touriga Nacional, 25% Aragonez and 25% Castelao.

Adega da Covilha

Adega de Covilha Monte Serrano Reserva 2006 – Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Tinta Roriz – mainly head-grafted over 5 years ago.  The Cabernet and Syrah are the youngest vines. Very spicy menthol, warm nose.  Quite gentle, plummy soft and supple black fruit on the palate supported by grainy, ripe tannnins.  Medium weight; well done.

Adega de Covilha Colheita do Socio Garrafeira 2006
– a blend of Jaen, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira and Aragonez that spends 18 months in French oak and 12 months in bottle.  Deeper coloured it has wild bilberry, sour plum/damson, cherry, floral and warm menthol/eucalypt notes on the nose and palate.  Good structure with firm, grainy tannins and well-balanced acidity.

Almeida Garrett

Not as ambitious as others but these well made wines are widely available in the Co-operative and at The Wine Society and represent good value for money.

Almeida Garrett Chardonnay 2008 – 24 year old vines at 400-550m produce a quite Maconnais-like wine – pale with melon and pear to its lifted nose, ditto on palate, with a hint of fig.  It is barrel fermented and aged sur lie with batonnage in french oak 300l barrels, c 30% new, no malo, so retains good freshness though they are experimenting with blending in Arinto to rachet up the freshness.

Almeida Garrett Entre Serras 2007 –  Tinta roriz, Trincadeira, Tinta Barocca – deep bright colour and a bright nose too with fresh picked black fruits, liquorice and spice that follow through on the palate.   Lacks a bit of finesse but at around a fiver it offers very good value for money.

Almeida Garrett Touriga Nacional 2007
– an exotic nose shows orange flower and lily; nice freshness to the fruit with milk chocolate.  A touch short but it’s pretty – a good commercial wine and sound value.

Almeida Garrett Syrah  2007 – a shorter ripening cycle than traditional grapes helps with physiological ripeness.  This has a floral, sappy nose and palate with spicy, peppery blackberry, cherry and currant fruit; the tannins lack a bit of refinement but good value again.

Companhia das Quintas

Founded in 1997, Companhia das Quintas has an impressive portfolio of quintas in key Portuguese regions.  To a man, all the wines are very well made – I’m surprised they’ve not got more UK listings.  The wines deserve it.

Quinta do Romaneira DOC Bucelas

The Arinto grape thrives in Bucelas, a small region of 200 hectares.  Quinta do Romaneira owns half of it, occupying a fine site with poor soils with limestone and clay and a special microclimate.  Though the Atlantic is a stone’s throw away, the vines are sheltered from winds in the valley.  They enjoy foggy mornings with high humidity, very hot afternoons and cold nights. This translates into ripe Arinto with tropical citrus fruit balanced by a lively streak of acidity, making for ageworthy wines which show minerality with bottle age.

Quinta do Romaneira Prova Regia 2008 DOC
– 100% Arinto – ripe citrus with racy acidity, this is very zesty with a limey undercurrent.  A little skin contact (4-6 hours at low temperature) extracts more interesting aromatic precursors.  Its 7g/l of residual sugar are worn lightly.

Quinta do Romaneira Morgado de Sta. Catherina 2007 DOC
– best grapes are selected for this barrel fermented and aged wine (9-10 months in French oak, 80% new, 20% 1 yr old).  The grapes usually come from the same  parcels and are harvested a little riper but still retaining ample balancing acidity. This is yellow/gold with a toasty nose and rich but balanced tropical citrus palate.

Quinta do Cardo DOC Beira Interior

Located in the northern part of Beiras Interior on markedly red/orange clay soils, the growing season can be hold and Cardo harvest a month after others to try and ensure the grapes are ripe.   The challenge here is to get more flesh and extract fruit without harsh tannins and maintain elegance. This is being achieved through lower yields, careful management of skin contact/extraction and controlled oxidation with delestage etc.

Quinta do Cardo Siria 2008
– a sweetness, tropicality to nose, quite lush and tropical with a rum baba/pina colada exotic character.  This wine sees a long natural ferment and is very well made.

Quinta do Cardo Seleccao do Enologo 2005
– Touriga Nacional 60%, Tinta Roriz 40% – a deep vibrant colour with a floral nose with bright fruit. On the palate it shows rich plum fruit with exotic notes of orange peel, satsuma and rock rose. Quite firm supporting tannins with an edge of clove suggest a long life ahead.   It is quite dense and more palate staining than most other Beiras wines I tasted on this trip.

Quinta Cardo Colheita Seleccao do Enologo 2003
– this vintage is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca.  A very floral, beguiling nose with parma violets and some tarry, earthy notes.  It has firm tannins, fresh acidity and a ripe core of black and red fruits – well balanced in this hot year.  A powerfully structured  food wine.

Quinta do Cardo Reserva 2006
– the cooler climate works well for Touriga Nacional and this sports an ambitious, oaky nose with big tannins giving a firm, bony structure.  Good freshness and definition to the black and red fruits – the oak less in evidence in the mouth.  Still tight and needs time but promising structure and complexity.

Herdade da Farizoa, Alentejo

Herdade da Farizoa Reserva 2006 VR Alentejo (Borba) – deep plum, exotic, touch figgy with jammier fruit than the Cardo wines – blackberry, black fruit gums but still some freshness with firm supporting tannins.

Quinta de Pancas, Estremadura

Quinta de Pancas Touriga Nacional Reserva 2007 VR  Estremadura – much more fruit weight than Cardo with concentrated, muscular, spicy blackcurrant, coffee bean/ mocha and firm, bony tannins.  Needs time but very good.

Quinta de Pancas Grande Escolha 2005
– the flagship wine is very deep in colour with tight, juicy blackcurrant fruit, mineral and savoury notes (meat pan juices) and grippy tannins – a bit unforgiving now – just needs time – a  big serious wine.

Pegos Claros DOC Palmela

Pegos Claros Garrafeira 2005 DOC – Castelao – a warm, enticing nose with a  sweet blurt of raspberry – an emollient wine on the palate with its sweet figgyness, velvety tannins and blueberry fruit. Nonetheless, well balanced.

Fronteira Reserva, the Douro

Fronteira Reserva 2007 DOC Douro – from the warmer Douro Superiore the heat is mitigated by elevation (300m).  This is quite toasty with plum,  jam, black fruits with some floral list.   OK.

Adega Regional de Colares,DOC Colares

Adega Regional de Colares Arenae Malvasia de Colares 2006 – an oxidative nose – nutty and evolved with an almost iodine twang.  High acidity giving greater freshness in the mouth but there’s not much fruit here – like a fino sherry (but not fortified) it’s an oxidative style with a salty character.

Adega Regional de Colares Arenae Ramisco de Colares 2002
– bright red in colour despite its age – Ramsico has small berries that are high in polyphenols/tannins.  Good then to have an older wine because I’m told that those tannins are fearsome in their youth and it can age for up to 20 years!  I liked this very spicy and intense wine with redcurrant, plum and cherry lips scented with clove, cassia and liquorice. Yes the tannins are firm but balanced by the fruit intensity.  2002 was a good vintage for these vines from sandy soil.

Bucellas & Collares Edicao do Centenario 2007 – to celebrate these regions’ centenary this wine is a collaboration between the Colares Adega and Companhia das Quintas’ Quinta do Romaneira so the wine is 50;50 Arinto and Malvasia de Colares.  Unoaked it has a lemony nose, lemon rind, a good weight of lemony, citrus fruit and a tropical edge.  Good combo.

Sarah Ahmed
The Wine Detective
July 2009

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