In this release, Vintages has brought us a modest selection of wines from Portugal. I have highlighted the two new Ports on offer, along with my four favourite reds and a white wine from Vinho Verde.
The theme in this lineup is really about good value, something that Portugal brings to our market in a big way. For example, the first wine, a 2001 Vintage Port, is very good quality, and is offered at a price much lower than I would expect for a 15-year-old bottle. The second is another good example of Late Bottled Vintage Port.
WARRE'S QUINTA DA CAVADINHA VINTAGE PORT 2001, Bottled 2003, DOP
Vintages #189605 • $49.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100This 2001 Vintage Port is deep and dark, showing red on the narrow rim. Rich, ripe plum, blackberry and black currant fruit aromas move into a liquored crème de cassis, along with dried fruit suggesting raisins and figs. Despite all that ripe and dried fruit, there is also a pleasant herbal topnote. On the palate the noticeable heat is balanced by sweetness, a pleasant acidity, and soft tannins, while the dense fruit is underpinned by luscious caramel and chocolate. The wine was bottled in 2003, and so has more than 12 years under its belt. It is drinking well now, and is probably best drunk within the next five years — a very good value.
Tasted jan 19, 2016 • DIONYSUS WINES & SPIRITS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
DALVA LBV PORT DOP 2010
Vintages #169755 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is a very nice example of an LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) Port from the vintage 2010. It has aged in barrel for about five years, taking on some oxidative notes, but stopping well short of the character required for Tawny Port. So the wine is still rather deep ruby-red, with a bright, lifted nose of red licorice, a minty-ricola herbaceousness, sweet cherry and plum fruit, with roasted coffee and chocolate notes. The alcohol is very warming as expected, but the sweetness and firm acidity help balance the palate. This is meant to be drunk in the short term, and will give lots of enjoyment if you do!
Tasted jan 19, 2016 • THE CASE FOR WINE (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
The four reds are all blends of traditional Portuguese varieties. They are all made with a modern sensibility, without going over-the-top towards an international style. And, as you will see, the pricing is exceptional.
POMARES TINTO 2011, DOC Douro
Vintages #214007 • $16.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100This a blend based on Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) supplemented with Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. Bright, fresh and ripe raspberry, cherry and plum fruit fill the nose, with some apple blossom florality and a light cinnamon-baking spice note. The wine is dry, with balanced alcohol and slightly sandy tannins, and fruit carries through to a finish that is enhanced by a light menthol lift. Very good.
Tasted jan 19, 2016 • LE SOMMELIER INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
FLOR DE MAIO MAYFLOWER 2012, Vinho Regional Alentejano
Vintages #427195 • $13.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Here is a pretty Touriga Nacional blend, filled with aromas of ripe blueberry, blackberry and plum, with a slightly earthy undertone that suggests cloves, bay leaves and dusty cedar. Slightly tart acidity balances still-grippy tannins, and the pleasant blueberry and blackberry fruit take on bright cherry notes, with cedar and a sprinkle of pepper on the palate. A very good value.
Tasted jan 19, 2016 • RARE EARTH WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
VALE DO BOMFIM 2013, DOC Douro
Vintages #167676 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This youthful blend of native grapes from the Douro shows medium ruby in the glass, with a hint of violet on the rim. Pretty, fresh and ripe raspberry and cherry fruit aromas are layered with notes of violets and vanilla. Firm acidity balances slightly elevated alcohol and tannins, but the overall effect is nicely balanced. Pleasant, quite modern, and fun.
Tasted jan 19, 2016 • CHURCHILL CELLARS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
BARÃO DE VILAR PROEZA 2012, DOC Dão
Vintages #427187 • $13.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 87.5/100Vibrant ripe plum, raspberry and blackberry fruit aromas are complemented by hints of red licorice, violets and dusty earth. The wine is nicely structured, with firm acidity, moderate alcohol, and tannins that have some ongoing grip. I sense a modest exposure to older oak barrels, that gives the fruit and floral flavours some breadth on the palate. An excellent value for $13.95.
Tasted jan 19, 2016 • TERRA FIRMA WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
The final white wine is a blend from Vinho Verde.
CASAL DE VENTOZELA BRANCO VINHO VERDE 2014, DOC Vinho Verde
Vintages #428326 • $14.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 87.5/100While we often think of Alvarinho as the white grape of Vinho Verde, a great deal of wine is made from other white varieties, in this case Loureiro, Trajadura and Pedernã. The wine is pale straw, with a very light effervescence. It has pretty peach blossom, peach, grapefruit, orange and honeydew melon aromas, with a crisp, dry palate that holds the fruit and flowers into a moderate and firm finish. Very pleasant wine.
Tasted jan 12, 2016 • LE SOMMELIER INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review