Ports and table wines of the Douro

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Port and Douro Wines


SYMINGTON ESTATES

bottles

Table wines

Altano, Douro Branco 2014, Douro, Portugal
Malvasia plus traditional varieties make up this organic wine, which is very aromatic, beautifully fresh and easy to drink. Nice body and balance, and lovely pithy grapefruit acidity hinting at minerality. 87/100.

Altano, Quinta do Ataide Douro Tinto 2011, Douro, Portugal
From a single estate this is 100% Touriga Nacional with such a ripe, rich, fruitcake nose, laden with plum, cherry and vanilla, but it has a lovely sense of freshness and juiciness, dry savoury tannins and acidity. Quite long too. 88/100.

Prats+Symington, Prazo de Roriz Douro Tinto 2011, Douro, Portugal
From the joint venture with Bruno Prats of Bordeaux. Such a vivid purple colour, but immediately more refined, less fruitcakey and plummy than the Altano before it, more cedar and incense fragrance and lovely balance and finesse, lightness. Juicy and long, with elegant and fine tannins and fresher acidity. 90/100.

Prats+Symington, Post Scriptum 2012, Douro, Portugal
From a very hot year, this is a little closed aromatically compared to the Prazo, but has a fine, classy, gently coffee-tinged nose of black fruits. The palate shows the oak a little at the moment, and though at first I thought this didn’t quite have the fruit concentration on the mid palate, it suddenly becomes quite suave and sweetly solid, finishing with great focus and elegance in a suede like concentration. 91/100.

Ports

Graham’s, Six Grapes Reserve Port, Douro, Portugal
Lovely dry curranty but fragrant nose, smoky, coal and schist. The palate has a velvet richness and lovely tannic and acid freshness, so rich and curranty, fruity and chocolaty. 88/100.

Graham’s, 1999 LBV Port, Douro, Portugal
Pleasing cherry and red fruits, with a slightly more raw feeling that the six grapes, dry in the finish and not quite so well balanced for me. 87/100.

Graham’s, 10 Year Old Port, Douro, Portugal
Depth of tawny colour, deep and nutty, lightly oxidative with plenty of dark raisin fruit. Lovely palate, that is sharply focused and ultra tangy, Seville orange and deep marmalade tang, but it still retains that ultimate freshness. 90/100.

Graham’s, 20 Year Old Port, Douro, Portugal
A little lighter and softer in colour and flavour, beginning with aromas of nuts and tobacco, raisin and cherry fruit. The palate has lovely concentration and acidity, with layering spices and orange and plenty of cut and bite to this: a truly decisive wine. 92/100.

Graham’s, Tawny Port 1972, Douro, Portugal
Bottled 2000. Cask #1. Lovely tawny lightness but ruby at core. Hugely complex, fig and coffee nose, shellac and nuttiness. On the palate the spiced orange and fruity concentration is delicious, with such a tangy, fresh mouthfeel and shimmering, cutting acidity. Fabulous length and finesse. 94/100.

Warre’s, Quinta do Cavadhina Port 1998, Douro, Portugal
Sour cherry and coal dust, dry and something lightly green and vegetal. The palate has lovely sweetness, a blackcurrant ripeness and slick tannins and acidity, chocolaty and rich, and drinks beautifully. 93/100.

Dow’s, Quinta do Bomfim Port 2004, Douro, Portugal
Earthy, chocolaty nose, with some toffee and fudge notes. Fruit comes through more on the palate, but it remains dry and relatively savoury despite the sweetness. Finishing with marvellous freshness. 91/100.

Graham’s, Quinta dos Malvedos Port 2001, Douro, Portugal
Rich. Brambly, almost blackcurrant jammy nose with hints of mint and dark chocolate, but so much brighter and more sparky. The palate is beautifully poised, it has sweetness, but such a raft of dry, coal dust and tar like notes, also floral aspects, in a wonderfully fragrant and complex Port. Beautiful. 94/100.

Cockburn’s, Quinta dos Canais Port 2006, Douro, Portugal
Delicious, balanced, tar and coffee, has aspects of the Graham and the Warre, but classic and balanced, fruity and chocolaty palate, inky dryness, but delightful sweet black cherry skin and plum skin, tart but soft around the edges. Classic balance. 92/100.

Graham’s, Vintage Port 1983, Douro, Portugal
Lovely autumnal notes of age, leafy and soft, tobacco and tea, with marvellous sweetness on the palate, a vegetal streak to this adding a green edge of firmness, but wrapped in a cloak of juicy fruit and marvellous chocolate – bitter and dark – with fine plum and cherry skin tannin and acidity. 93/100.

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LAVADORES DE FEITORIA

meruge label

White wines

Lavadores de Feitoria, Douro Branco 2014, Douro, Portugal
A blend of Malvasia and Gouveio. Made in stainless steel, this is the entry level white. Pale green, very youthful colour. Delicate fruit skin aromas, lemon and lime skins, but some floral notes and with 12.5% alcohol, fresh and racy with plenty of clean, juicy acidity. 85/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Douro Branco 2013, Douro, Portugal
A lovely nose here, a little more herbs and creaminess, with a slightly more complex profile. A lovely lemon rind touch of phenolics, grippy, with that finesses and fine acidity again. Drinking very nicely. 86/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Tres Bagos Branco 2014, Douro, Portugal
A blend of barrel-fermented Viosinho with Gouveio and Malvasia, around 50% of the final blend matured in 2nd year barrels. Nutty and creamy background over citrus and apple. Adds a dimension to the texture, lots of juicy orange coming through and some lemony peel notes. Lovely acidity, a touch of minerality. 88/100. Lavadores de Feitoria, Tres Bagos Branco 2013, Douro, Portugal
This is currently in the market. Much more open than the recently bottled 2014. There’s a definite minerality and smoky, salty note to this, with stones and smoke. The palate bursts with flavour too, a real pithy lemon and grapefruit pithiness. More full with a ripe melon character, the acidity and balance is excellent. 89/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Meruge Branco 2012, Douro, Portugal
Not a single vineyard wine, though some of the grapes comes from Quinta de Meruge (Meruge means ‘herbs’). It is 100% barrel fermented Viosinho, made in untoasted Portuguese barrels. Green/gold colour, with delightful creamy almond and oatmeal nose. Fine apple and melon skin notes. Lovely palate, with dashing acidity, a streak of pithy herbs and green, chicory bite of bitterness and acidity, long and focused, the oak adding a gentle oatmeal richness. 91/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Tres Bagos Sauvignon 2013, Douro, Portugal
Not a Douro DOP, but a Vinho Regionale Duriense. When they started to make whites, they suddenly found one batch which did not seem like typical Malvasia or Gouveio. They consulted investor Dirk Niepoort, who thought it was like Sauvignon Blanc. They went back to the supplier and he confirmed it was indeed Sauvignon, so from 2002 onward they have bottled a Sauvignon Blanc and more has been planted, though it is only sold in Portugal. Green figs and herbs, a touch of tropical. Very Sauvignon palate, streaking with citrus and some grassy acidity, underpinned by that touch of tropical. 86/100.

Red wines

Lavadores de Feitoria, Douro Tinto 2013, Douro, Portugal
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional, all made in steel. Some floral aspects to this, but a cool, gravelly note (13% alcohol). Has a slightly weedy note perhaps? Much more pleasing palate, damsons and plum skins, a roughening edge of tannin, balanced acidity. Nice, savoury easy drinking. 85/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Douro Tinto 2012, Douro, Portugal
Allows the floral aspect to come through much more, hints of roses and violet to slightly brighter cherry fruit and summer berries. Rounded, with still that grippy rusticity to the tannins, but a composed, meaty character and that plummy fruit. Finishes with more roundness and spice. 87/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Tres Bagos Tinto 2012, Douro, Portugal
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca. Curranty and rich, with that hint of stalks and briar, giving a little herbal edge and some floral hints. Touches of gravy and chocolate. There is a pure, rich, ripe, tobacco-tinged ripe fruit character, lots of power and concentration. A fairly rustic grip to the tannins, a sour cherry bite to the acidity, and very good balance into a long, savoury finish showing more spice. 88/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Tres Bagos Tinto 2011, Douro, Portugal
Gorgeous nose, sweet fruit and lighter floral notes combine with some Sandalwood and chocolate. A big, sweet and ripe palate, lovely fruit weight and touches of vanilla and spice, there is still that leathery, rustic grip to the tannins, but the balance and length is excellent, powering through to the finish. A harmonious, nicely matured wine drinking really well. 90/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Quinta da Costa Das Aguaneiras Douro Tinto 2011, Douro, Portugal
Composed of 70% Touriga Nacional from Quinta da Costa with Old Vines, it’s a selection of grapes from south-facing vineyards at 250m close to the river. “Fruity and full bodied” according to Paulo. Vinified in lagares at Mateus, it then spends 10 to 12 months in new French oak. Very vivid dense colour. Very fine nose, with cedar edge plum and dark berry fruit, with hints of spices and leather, but it is fresh. Warm baked earth of the Douro, a raft of very pleasing fruit, fine weight and texture and the spices and ripeness of tannins are lovely – smoother, but still concentrated and grippy. 91/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Quinta da Costa Das Aguaneiras Douro Tinto 2010, Douro, Portugal
Purple, primary colour. Lovely tight nose, a hint of smoke and cedar to very tight black fruits, still cedar and touches of floral character. Touches of that gravy browning umami flavour, but solid black fruit, very classy, very sheer, the tannins fine and ripe and the balance lovely again. Has plenty of aging potential. 92/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Meruge Tinto 2012, Douro, Portugal
This is a the new vintage just entering the market. 70% Tinta Roriz with old vines. From the top of the mountain facing north. Soft, autumn notes, spices, the gentle earthiness, the vanilla touches, the little floral notes. The palate has light and shade and lovely finesse to the tannins, very bright acidity and a lovely fruit core. Another stunning Meruge. 93/100.

Lavadores de Feitoria, Meruge Tinto 2011, Douro, Portugal
Again it has that complexity, animal and vegetal notes, with so much floral perfume, so much obvious freshness and spice. Absolutely drinking to perfection, the sweet vanilla, the ripe and bursting cherry and red berry fruit, and the fully resolved tannins showing more pleasing vanilla, tobacco and coffee, but such lovely acidity and freshness. Drinking so well now. 94/100.

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QUINTA DO CRASTO

view from Crasto

White wines

Quinta do Crasto, Douro Branco 2014, Douro, Portugal
The blend here is Rabigato, Viosinho and Gouveio. Notes of fruit skins and gentle orange blossom florals, lime peel and apple. Delightful freshness, but has a powerful weight and texture. Around 20% has a few weeks in barrel. Lovely balance, with powerful orange acidity, long and delicious. 87/100.

Quinta do Crasto, Douro Superior Branco 2013, Douro, Portugal
A blend of 60% Viosinho and 40% Verdelho fermented and aged in barrel, a mix of new, 2nd and 3rd year, and a little made from Acacia wood, not oak. Lovely nutty toast – an almond note, and beneath ripe apple fruit, but quite steely and youthful. Delicious palate, the grip of tannin and serious fruit-skin grip. Really pithy lemon and lime, plenty of texture and weight despite only 12% alcohol. Long, mineral, spicy and fine. 91/100.

Red wines

Quinta do Crasto, Crasto Douro Tinto 2013, Douro, Portugal
Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barocca, only around 5% is matured in older barrels. Quite a bright, red cherry nose, with some incense and higher, floral notes. Very charming. The palate has a refined tannin structure: there is grip and chocolaty richness, the fruit more dense and concentrated than the nose suggested. There is lovely freshness to the acidity here, just a touch of smokiness, and a savoury, chewy edge to the finish. 88/100.

Quinta do Crasto, Crasto Douro Superior Tinto 2013, Douro, Portugal
Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz, Touriga Franca and just 5% Sousão, which is very good for acidity. It comes from the top plots in the Douro Superior that are 100% schist, with “almost no organic material,” says winemaker Manuel Lobo de Vasconcellos, and is aged 12 months in oak, 30% new. Such a lifted, high, schist and graphite nose with flowers and kirsch, delicate but precise red fruits. There is a smokiness. Lovely smooth tannins, very svelte but there is grip and serious concentration and though there is a deal of young oak, that should mellow over a few more years. 91/100.

Quinta do Crasto, Old Vines Reserva 2012, Douro, Portugal
The first wine in the tasting that has ‘Quinta’ on the label, as fruit comes from 42 different plots on their home property, partly from the old Maria Teresa vineyard in which 49 varieties are co-planted. The youngest vines here are 70 years old. It is matured in oak, 65% new oak, the rest second year, and around 15% is American oak. Beautiful, haunting nose with chocolate and fudge and plenty of Sandalwood and incense oak, but there is a natural feeling of reserved power and concentration. Superb sweetness and mouth-filling richness on the palate – super concentrated stuff, with still that edge of plum and blueberry skin tartness, acidity and tight tannin structure all giving grip, but the pillow of sweet fruit persists through the mid-palate. Dense, rich, powerful and perhaps slightly overwhelming in its powerful resin and spice at this stage, it is a serious and age-worthy wine. 91/100.

Quinta do Crasto, Old Vines Reserva 2004, Douro, Portugal
Garrigue and resin notes, a dense, spicy black fruit with a chocolate richness but dry and edged with liquorice and bitter black fruit skins. Lots of balsamic qualities and onto the palate, rich, round, big and tannic but has smoothness and gloss as well as the deep fruit. 91/100.

Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional 2012, Douro, Portugal
Produced only in special years. From two vineyards, one facing south and one north to give different aspects, it spends 18 months in oak. Deeply fruited, with ripe and plummy black fruit, it seems like the oak is much better integrated than in the Old Vines, though there is chocolate and a touch of coffee and mint. The palate has smoothness and soft spice, but retains lots of fresh acidity and a dry, coffeeish quality into a long, plush finish. 92/100.

Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional 2011, Douro, Portugal
Has that smooth, satiny balsamic richness and suave polish, with all the time those tobacco and garrigue notes. Meaty and earthy, lovely liquorice and plum, an Asian plum sauce richness. Delightful bite of tannin and acidity. Has bittersweetness and chocolate, cedar and lovely spice. 93/100.

Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional 2003, Douro, Portugal
Gravy and meatiness, a feral note to this, some heat and plenty of oak – it has the balsamic quality again, some of that rosemary character but slightly too much oak I think. Simpler than the 2011, though deliciously drinkable. 91/100.

Quinta do Crasto, Tinta Roriz 2012, Douro, Portugal
Produced only in special years again. From 30-year-old vineyards, three blocks all at 300 metres. Very deep blue/black fruit with huge plushness, mint, rosemary and chocolate, ripe and very powerful. The palate is coated immediately with plush, velvety fruit bitter cocoa and balsamic notes. There is a lot of aromatics here, and lots of flavour with the finish, powerful, full, but not heavy, the luxurious weight and texture adds to the svelte and smooth character. 93/100. £42.50.

Quinta do Crasto, Vinha de Ponte 2012, Douro, Portugal
A wine from a single vineyard that is more than 100 years old, a field blend that sees 20 months in new French oak and once again produced in special years. Deep and intense colour. A brooding, dark, fleshy nose with black fruits and a muscular character, plenty of creamy dark oak, but the svelte ripeness and natural concentration of the fruit is at the core of this. The palate has massive presence and concentration, but the weight and density of tannins are ripe and creamy/chocolaty, good plum skin grip and sufficient acidity, the oak filling in with dense chocolate and some toast, but this is balanced if hugely rich and flavour packed. The wine is made with ultimate attention to detail, ploughed by horses and treated organically. 94/100.

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SOGEVINUS

bottles

Aged Tawnies

Barros, 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
Quite dark with still some ruby to the colour. All about varnish and shellac aromas, with a slightly firm, slightly closed character at this stage. A touch of meatiness. Beautiful sweetness and coffeeish richness, the intense fruit concentration comes through, but it is a really spicy character, soft around the edges, but with that concentrated intensity. 92/100.

Kopke, 30 Year Old White Port, Douro, Portugal
Burnished gold colour, and now it has developed much more of the old tawny character. Confit lemon and marmalade, with delicious, buoyant, almost pineapple fruit sweetness. Long, very decisive in the finish. 93/100.

Calem, 40 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
A moderately dark ruby/dark tawny. Herbs and shellac, lots of layered interest, with dark prune and dried fruit aromas and some exotic incense notes. Huge luscious sweetness here, massive fruit and massive creamy coffee and walnut, so long and beautifully balanced by the acidity. 94/100.

Burmester, 40 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
Slightly darker in colour with more of an old, polished wood character, a light earthiness, and still lovely nuts and dried fruits. The palate again has the intensity, a shock of acidity and some peatiness, there is plenty of spice, clove, and although it has plenty of sweetness there is huge freshness. 94/100.

Colheitas

Kopke, Colheita White Port 2003, Douro, Portugal
Lovely golden colour, not nearly so aromatic as the tawnies, subtle, touches of citrus and salt. On the palate quite a different character too – the coffee and nuttiness not so evident, but an intense fruit sweetness: glacé fruits, lovely sweetness but a firm, lightly nutty and keen lemony acidity. 91/100.

Calem, Colheita Port 2000, Douro, Portugal
Again, plenty of depth of ruby and mahogany brown. Vanilla and Muscovado sugar, a little fresh leaf tea and herbal flavour, and a meatiness as well as solid red fruit. Sweet, but not nearly so sweet as the Burmester 1989 for example, much more tannin and spicy strength and orangey blast of acidity. A gorgeous wine of depth that is clearly in a lovely but youthful phase. 93/100.

Burmester, Colheita Port 1989, Douro, Portugal
From a vintage year, a great year. Absolutely gorgeous nose, has the walnut and almond warmth and caramel softness, but also a fresh cherry note of fruitiness. Hugely sweet and fruity, amazing intensity of dried fruits, currant and fat, sweet, juicy plum. There is a power and a spiciness to this too, but it is a marvellous wine with wonderful Curaçao flavours and acidity. 94/100.

Barros, Colheita Port 1974, Douro, Portugal
Again a coppery/ruby tone to the colour, with such a mellow nose, fudge and deep marmalade scents, with red berries. Chocolate and dark rum and raisin fudge on the palate, such luscious richness and dark, dramatic flavours. The intensity is there again, those shellac notes of old Port concentration, and terrific acidity again. 94/100.

Kopke, Colheita Port 1965, Douro, Portugal
Glowing, deep mahogany. Lots of shellac and old polished wood, curry leaf, varnish notes, but part of the intriguing nutty whole. Deep raisiny aromas too, clove and cinnamon. In the mouth a gorgeous Seville orange cut and decisiveness, the coffee and walnut cake sweetness and soulful depth is delicious, and this goes on and on. So long, perfectly balanced, and luscious without being at all cloying. 95/100.

Burmester, Colheita Port 1952, Douro, Portugal
Lovely dark caramel colour, with some truffle and tea notes, edges of olive and green fruits (fig). The maturity on the palate is obvious, again with fabulous sweetness and brown sugar richness, Muscovado and walnuts, but the hallmark of the fresh orange and lemon acidity plays against that and the coffee and walnut cake sweetness and richness. 94/100.

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