Douro 2004: What should we expect?
Quinta de La Rosa's Centenary staged a massive tasting of the new 2004 Douros
Since the awful vintage of 2002, a kind of every-winemaker's-nightmare year, Gods have been merciful and generous for Douro producers. 2003 produced thick, tannic and yummy wines, with some excellent Reservas coming out. In 2004, wines show what they've been missing since 1999: balance and elegance. The tasting took place at The Vintage House Hotel, organised by the greatest wine PR of all times, Dorli Muhr. Which means, of course, that tasting conditions were second to none, and that the wines represented were an actual and effective way of feeling what "The New Douro" is all about.
I am not publishing my impressions in any magazine whatsoever, so I can be entirely informal. Or, even better, I can restrict my opinions to something like "I liked" and "I didn't like". Here it goes.
* "Prazo de Roriz" Red 2004 - Very good overall balance, the wood is well integrated and there is a freshness that floods both the nose and the mouth.
* "Três Bagos" White 2005 - More and more, you see who's actually behind the scene here. Dirk Niepoort now proposes a Rhein bottle. Follow the leader!
* "Xisto" Red 2004 - As I didn't like the previous - and first - edition of this wine, I have more than welcomed the 2004. Let's see what the Roquette-Cazes venture is preparing in the vintages to come. Because... Shouldn't this wine be a totally different one? Am I being naive?
** "Meandro" Red 2004 - The second wine of Vale Meão, it's very smooth, ripe and absolutely ready to drink.
** "Post Scriptum" Red 2004 - I'm quite sure this will be one of the symbols of the 2004 vintage. Excellent balance of alcohol and acidity, with a carefuly-knit structure.
** "Três Bagos Sauvignon Blanc" White 2005 - Only 20% of this wine staged in oak barrels. Dry, fresh, and ready to drink. And, what's more, they came out with 14,000 bottles of this besutiful wine.
*** "Charme" Red 2004 - It's the first time that I find Charme a slot behind that of Batuta, but that only means that Batuta 2004 is a huge accomplishment. This Charme shows thickness and elegance in equal, massive, amounts.
*** "Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional" Red 2004 - Very good, probably the best showcase of the eponymous Touriga Nacional available, for the time being.
*** "Quinta de La Rosa" Reserva Red 2004 - La Rosa exorcised all its ghosts by hiring Jorge Moreira. Same grapes, same cellar, give rise to wines you would have never expected, ever since the 2002 vintage.
*** "Redoma" Red 2004 - The best Redoma yet, this is a shockingly good wine, nothing like any of the other 2004s from the Douro. Happy buyers of this wine will be surprised!
*** "Três Bagos" Red 2004 - This wine stands out from the whole collection of previous "Três Bagos". Now, it's a deep, complex wine, filled with balance and freshness. It surely will get its reputation back, as Lavradores de Feitoria's flagship product.
**** "Quinta do Vale Meão" Red 2004 - Incredible length and depth. This Vale Meão is a masterpiece, although I find that it is at least a year's distance of being ready to drink.
**** "Batuta" Red 2004 - Jam, pepper and the "usual" surprise of having a massively tannic wine in the mouth without any evidence of it whatsoever!
**** "Pintas" Red 2004 - Thick, long and spicy. What can I say, when this is a wine I wouldn't mind to have something against, given its skyrocketing career but, then again, I don't!
**** "Poeira" Red 2004 - Another monotonously fabulous wine, maybe at its peak. When he gets an elegant year, Jorge Moreira surely knows how to take advantage of it. Brilliant.
**** "Quinta do Vale Dona Maria" Red 2004 - The first vintage from this producer that I really enjoyed! It boasts 14,7º alcohol and yet you taste it as a super-elegant wine.
I didn't like
- "Altano" Reserva Red 2004 - A wine with no soul, for the soul-less drinker. What's the point of producing this kind of wines?
- "Callabriga" Red 2004 - What were they doing there with so poor a sampling of Sogrape's wines, in such a rich and revealing tasting?
- "Chryseia" Red 2004 - They say that the wine only staged for 9 months in Taransaud French oak barrels, meaning that it should not show so many "woody" notes. I'd say that if the wine would stay in oak barrels for a greater period of time, it would be less marked by the wood and would turn out to be more drinkable. As its is, it's a terrible experience. It will smooth down in the bottle, you might say. Of course. In 20 years time.