The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 22 of 132

STEVEN SPURRIER'S LETTER FROM LONDON Great Portuguese Wines E PHOTO: DECANTER ach year since 2006 Portugal has commissioned a well-know British wine writer, usually a Master of Wine, to choose their 50 best wines, and later tast- ings are held in London, Manchester and Edinburgh with the full selection and many of the producers present. Two years ago, I wrote about Sarah Ahmed aka The Wine Detective's selection, citing 6 whites and twelve reds. This year, it was the choice of Julia Harding MW, the colleague of Jancis Robinson MW, who over a period of six months tasted 1,200 wines to come up with 18 whites, 27 reds, four fortified (Port and Madeira were excluded) and one sparkling wine. Her insistence was that they had to be made mainly from local Portuguese grape varieties, her final selection being based on quality but also the sense that each one could have come from nowhere else but Portugal. Some of these wines were known to me, but many more were not, and each one, bear- ing hand-made vineyard characteristics, is worth searching out. Each of the wines below received 17/20 (a Decanter Silver Medal) or above in my notes. WHITE Filipa Pato 2011 FP Branco, Vinho Regioinala Beiras: 50% Bical/50% Arinto, made by the great Luis Pato's daughter; silver pale, floral nose, creamy texture with lifted charm and complexity. Rui Reguinga 2010 Terrenus, Vinho Regional Alentejano: bush vines from 700 metres near the Spanish border; lemon yellow, clear citrusy fruit with very good tension and grip; refined and classy. Quinta de Saes 2010 Reserva Encruzado, Dão: lemon pale, really good minerality and great length, tight, great character and more to come. Niepoort 2010 Coche, Douro: a field blend of local grapes, Dirk Niepoort's tribute to Coche- Dury; lemon yellow, fresh pear and peach over oak, lovely length and definition of fruit that just improve for years. Wine & Soul 2008 Guru, Douro: from the brilliant Jorge Borges; both citrusy, minerally and rich all in balance, minerality dominating; a fascinating wine. Lemos & van Zeller 2010 VZ, Douro: a field blend of 20- to 50-year-old vines; lemon yellow, oak-influenced fruit like a young Meursault, rich with good acidity; good future. 22 / the tasting panel / september 2012 RED Quinta da Ribeirinho 2009 Pé Franco, Vinho Regional Beiras: made by Luis Pato from ungrafted vines on a sandy soil; deep mature red, earthy Cabernet Franc fruit, energetic tannins, great natural length. Dulcineia dos Santos Ferreira 2005 Sidónio de Sousa, Bairrada: from 90-year-old Baga vines, grapes fermented un-destemmed "Dujac- style"; wonderful sweet middle fruit, smooth, earthy and ripe; superb future. Julia Kemper Wines 2009 Tinto, Dão: 50% Touriga Nacional in the blend brings a violetty floral nose over vigourous, spicy broad flavours and good acidity. Quinta do Mouro 2006 Touriga Nacional, Vinho Regional Alentejano: dense young colour, seductively smooth fruit, fine firm tannins; a lovely wine. Niepoort 2007 Robustus, Douro: field blend of 60- to 100-year-old vines, 50% de-stemmed; lots of black fruits, very pure, still slightly austere; great future. Quinta do Crasto 2009 Vinhas Velhas Reserva, Douro: dense red; 16 months in French oak have added elegance, polish and class to the deep Douro fruit. Quinta da Gaivosa 2009 Abandonado, Douro: a field blend of 80-year-old high-planted vines to produce lots of rich, savoury flavours and great vineyard depth. Jorge Moreira 2009 Poeira, Douro: black- red; quite extracted vineyard spice and depth, beautifully made with fascinating complexity for the future. Wine & Soul 2009 Quinta da Manoella VV, Douro: 100-year-old vines, 20 months French oak; deep and smooth with lovely texture and tannins. Quinta do Vale 2009 Meao, Douro: black red, very full and robust, a totally pure vineyard wine in the Latour style; needs five years. Monte Cascas 2009 Ramisco, Colares: from 80-year-old Ramisco vines one kilometre from the Atlantic Ocean; lightish red, delicate, floral, complex; a totally intellectual wine for the future. FORTIFIED Adriano Tiago 1993 Moscatel de Setubal Superior: amber/amontillado colour; burnt cara- mel nose; nutty depth, perfect balance of richness and acidity like the greatest Vin Santo.

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