The Douro: Quintas do Crasto & Portal go single varietal in 2009
Neither Quinta do Crasto nor Quinta do Portal release single varietal wines every year. In fact Crasto last released a single varietal Tinta Roriz in 2003! I caught up with Tomás Roquette in the Douro at Niepoort’s Big Day tasting last month and tasted Portal’s wines (pictured) at home last week. What’s the scoop? The 2009 vintage seems conducive to some rather promising single varietal wines, especially for Tinta Roriz!
Quinta do Crasto Tinta Roriz 2009 (cask sample)
Tomás told me that this wine comes from a unique south and east-facing vineyard in Roncão at 350m which, though around 100 years old, is planted almost excusively to Tinta Roriz. That’s highly unusual given the Douro’s tradition of mixed plantings and Tomás feels that, above all, this is a great expression of vineyard as well as variety. Just 3000 bottles will be produced in 2009 and it’s very seductive already with its sweet raspberry scented nose and palate. Though the vanilla oak is quite present at this very early stage, the wine has impressive underlying freshness for balance which is well-integrated with the fruit. I reckon it’ll evolve similarly to the youthfully plush but well balanced 2003 which I tasted (from magnum) in 2009 (see here).
Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional 2009
Last made in 2006 the single varietal Touriga typically comes from three single plots (block plantings). The vines are around 25 years old and cuttings were taken from Crasto’s aged vines. An intense floral nose and palate shows violets and chocolate as well as minerals and a touch of salt lick – very Touriga, very Douro! The tannins are quite bony and it’s yet to fill out in the mouth, but it’s all there and with the freshness to evolve into a beauty.
Quinta do Portal Tinta Roriz 2009
This wine is already in bottle and shows a ripe raspberry and briar nose and palate with delightfully smooth, fine grained tannins. Good underlying freshness and minerality lends vibrancy and depth. Very good. 14%
Quinta do Portal Touriga Nacional 2009
A much deeper colour and richer/sweeter on nose and palate than the Tinta Roriz with its fleshy black cherry and flashy vanilla oak and dark chocolate. On day two, it shows some eucalpytus. Still, there’s good freshness to its juicy mid-palate and the tannins are, like the Crasto, firmer, so it’ll benefit from a little more time in bottle before being broached. Good potential. 13.5%