Altas Quintas White 2008

>> Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Altas Quintas estate, situated in north-eastern Alentejo, deep in the heart of rural Portugal, stretches across 256 hectares and encompasses two major areas of farmland lying parallel at an altitude between 496 m and 770 m. Nestled high in the gently sloping hills of the São Mamede Natural Park, the property also includes 48 ha of vines, 80 ha of pine forest, 50 ha of orchards and 8 ha of olive groves.
Growing a host of native grape varieties, such as Trincadeira and Aragonez for reds and Verdelho and Arinto for whites, the quinta also features smaller percentages of varieties with strong oenological potential, such as Alicante Bouschet, Alfrocheiro, Shyraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Operating under a fully integrated, property-wide management framework, the vineyard benefits from cutting-edge vine training methods, computerized irrigation and optimized drainage systems.

Altas Quintas White 2008
Producer: Altas Quintas
Region: Alentejo
Alcohol: 13.5% vol
Price: N/D
Made from the grape varieties Verdelho and Arinto, the wine was fermented in new barrels of French oak, and then aged for 6 months in the same barrels.
It features a bright straw color. The first sensation is the freshness that emanates from the wine. The wine shows tropical fruit, some citrus, some smoke notes, coconut and honey. The barrel show a little bit yet but will integrate soon. In between each of these notes, the wine always shows freshness.
In the mouth, despite showing a certain greasiness, a certain body, we find a wine more a case of finesse and freshness, than body and volume. A compromise between the volume and finesse. It has an great acidity and ends with medium/long persistence, with hints of honey and pineapple.
16.5 Points


Esporão 2007 1º Prémio da Confraria dos Enófilos do Alentejo

>> Sunday, November 22, 2009

It 's been 18 years since the Brotherhood of Alentejo's Oenophiles, tests every year the best that is produced in the region. This year, for the third time, as it has been in 1998 and 2000, A Esporão wine took the price. This 1st Prize of the Brotherhood of Oenophiles of Alentejo, just like it is on the label, is a wine for collection, with 2 different labels produced by Ana Jotta and inspired by the old labels of Esporão.
But let's taste the wine:

Esporão 2007 1º Prémio da Confraria dos Enófilos do Alentejo
Producer - Esporão
Region - Alentejo
Alchool - 15% vol
Price - from € 39
This wine is made from Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Franca. The varieties were vinified separately and aged for 6 months in new barrels of American oak.
Dense in color, almost impenetrable. Strong impact of depth on the nose. Rich and dense, this wine shows notes of black currant and blackberry, joined by notes of pencil lead, licorice and spices. With some time of air comes the floral notes with hints of freshness, that the initial perception was not suggesting in any way. Great job on the barrel, with this very well integrated, without display, staggering the set.
In the mouth the continuation of depth and density, with the wine to show its powerful, full bodied, but classy. The acid and tannins seem to be involved in the body, this wine looks velvety, but always in tune concentration again with hints of freshness. Good persistence with hints of chocolate, is the end of a wine of strong emotions.
It really is a wine that inflicts strong emotions, because of the density, the structure, but at the same time it has some freshness, despite the 15 degrees of alcohol, that shoes in the label. Asks for food? Undoubtedly .......
17.5 Points


Quinta do Crasto

>> Wednesday, August 5, 2009

27th July, Monday. We arrived to Quinta do Crasto really late, it was about 11pm. The Quinta is situated in Gouvinhas, on the left margin of the river Douro.

There was no time, and no light, to show us the premises, so the visit began with a tasting from the last Vintages of the house. We tasted Crasto 2008, Crasto Old Vines 2007, Quinta do Crasto Maria Teresa 2007, Quinta do Crasto Vinha da Ponte 2007, Crasto LBV 2005 and Quinta do Crasto Vintage. Although there's an enormous history, related to wine production in this place, but it was only in the nineties that they started to bottle ans sell wine. Since the beginning, this house became one of the most famous houses of still wines in the Douro and in Portugal. Recent prizes from Wine Spectator top 100 and high ratings from all over the world's wine magazines, brought Quinta do Crasto to the lights of fame. Here, everything is done with only one concern. Quality.

The Wines:

Quinta do Crasto's "Crasto" 2008
This is the new vintage from the entry level wine from this producer. It is about to be released. This wine showed really well. Sweet fruit on the nose, floral notes and some orange. Fresh and with some concentration. Mouth full of flavor, silky, round and fruity.

Quinta do Crasto Reserva "Vinhas Velhas" 2007
This is one of the best QPR wine you can get. Recently, the 2005 vintage, was in the 3th place on Wine Spectator's Top 100. Imagine that no Portuguese still wine has ever been inside top 10.
A few months ago, in may, i tasted this wine and thought that it was more floral than usually do, since his profile usually gives us some coffee notes and some spicy. In this day the wine was coming to his normal profile. The wine showed dark fruit, coffee, spicy, smoke and some floral. Although the notes tend to be hot, this wine showed lots of freshness.Really savory, full bodied, with great tannins and acidity. Long finish.
This is a wine that needs to be decanted, to open a little bit. Also needs time in the cellar as it will improve a lot. Great stuff.

Quinta do Crasto Vinha da Ponte 2007
Still a baby, but it shows a little how big will be. Very young, profound, great concentration and depth. Fruit, Flowers, some barrel notes are still on the loose but nothing hurts this harmonious wine. Full of structure, the tannins still edgy but from great quality. Long, long finish. Impressive Stuff. The promise of greatness is evident in this aristocratic wine. It will be great and I confess that I was really overwhelmed with this wine.

Quinta do Crasto Vinha Maria Teresa 2007
This is the other top wine from Quinta do Crasto. As Vinha da Ponte, this wine comes from a single vineyard, that gave the name to the wine. Old vines, field blended with more than 30 indigenous grapes.
It reminded me the 2005 vintage, but with more freshness. Sweet perfume with flowers, wild berrys, sweet ald lusciuos fruit. The mouth is all about flavour, actually you can taste in the mouth, all you've sensed in the nose. Impressive, the flavour of this wine. Kinda feminine profile attached to this wine. Sexy, velvet and lust. Impossible not to love this wine.
More Info on this Producer here


Miscelaneous Photos

>> Friday, July 24, 2009

While i'm waiting anxious to go to the Douro, let me just put some old photos in here.

"Never Ending Douro"

"The River Tedo"

"The River Tedo and the Douro in the back"

"The Douro, from the DOC Restaurant (at right)"

"Same as the previous photo but from another angle"

"A DOC's Recipe. Yummy"

"Niepoort's Cellar in Douro"

"Niepoort's, Port Cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia"

"Quinta do Crasto's Pool. Magnificent view over there"


2 days in Douro

Next Monday and Tuesday, I will be in Douro for some visits, so i will get back with some tasting notes and photos from those days.
Just to tease you, i will be tasting the new wines from Quinta do Crasto, Niepoort, Quinta de la Rosa, Poeira and Lavradores de Feitoria.

Seen you soon........


2007 Vintage Port is coming to town

>> Saturday, July 18, 2009

No, this is not fresh news for most of you but probably someone who doesn't follow the news might find this helpful.

Well, 2007 Vintage Ports are being released as i write this words, but only a bunch of producers already have the wines in the shelves, as a lot of them will release their wines in October.

Let me talk about this vintage, and how special it is. Usually the best years for a Vintage Port are those real hot years where the grapes tend to get over maturation, but 2007 wasn't like that, was really fresh most of the year, even August was fresher than usually and September was quite dry. What makes it special is that in a great year for still wines in Douro, we've got beautiful Ports too. A rare case of a vintage that is excellent for the two kind of wines. Speaking with a lot of producers and winemakers, all said that they would have to go back for a long time to find a vintage like this, and even some didn't find any.
Almost all Port Houses declared Vintage Port in 2007. I tasted some of them, at least the major players and was stunned with the wines. We will not have those "brutal" Ports like in 2003, but instead, wines of powerful but with some elegance too. Some of the wines, like the Niepoort vintage 2007, for example, are quite approachable right now, but they have a lot of tannins, a lot of structure and acidity to keep them alive for decades. In sum, an amazing year for Ports, and still wines, in Douro.
From the ones i tasted, just take a look at Dow's, Niepoort, Noval, Warre (quite a surprise), and Taylor's. You won't get disappointment on these wines, that's for sure. I will leave you with a video, where Dirk Niepoort talks about Vintage Port in 2007.



Fonseca Vintage Port 1963

>> Friday, July 17, 2009

After 46 years, 44 to be exact since this wine was probably bottled in 65, it was my time to taste this wine. It's with some emotion and great respect that i taste an old Port.
1963 was what we can call a classic year as was a general declaration for almost all Port Houses. The year went so great for Port that this was considered to be one of the best vintages in the 20th century. Great ports were created in this year, ports with a long life ahead.
When i took the first look to the glass, i saw this beautiful and brilliant ruby color, a little orange in the rim. It was time to lift the glass to the noose as the anxiety was so much.
The pedigree of a great port. Lots of complexity invaded my nose. First, that beautiful smell of strawberry's and a little bit of plums, but not those over mature plums. Then came some old closet smell, some spice box and some chocolate. All this was coming and coming, and coming.
The first sip took me to heaven. All this delicacy, all this finesse, and all this balance, was really unbelievable in a single wine. The wine was so balanced that not even a single moment i sensed the alcohol, not for a moment i was disturbed by anything than this "nirvana state" that the wine gave to me. Creamy, elegant, had a finish that took about a minute and after that, i was wondering for the next sip. A remarkable wine, almost perfect in all senses ,that everyone should drink at least one time in his life. One of the best ports i've ever had.
19,5 Points


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