(2019) Produced only in exceptional vintages, this foot-trodden blend of whole-bunch Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and other Douro varieties was fermented in lagares and open barrels and aged for 24 months in French oak. This has a lovely nose, vinous and dark, with cherry and ripe plum, again a cocoa and liquorice twist of darkness, and a plush underpinning of quality oak. The palate is flooded with sweet fruit, but it's an elegant wine, the tannins finer than in the Boango bottlings, a real sense of refinement and harmony into a long finish. This should also cellar well for five years or more.
(2019) The 2013 vintage of this Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca blend, again aged in French oak for 24 months. Broadly similar on the nose to the 2012 with that same marriage of chocolate, spices and dark plum and vine fruits, but a suggestion of a slightly juicier character. That carries through on the palate, where the tannins and charriness of the barrel gives a bit of rustic bite to this, a bit of chewiness, but the fruit is that little bit fresher, edgier, with juicy black fruit and tangy acidity into the finish.
(2019) A blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca, the grapes foot-trodden in lagares, before the wines is aged in for 24 months in French oak. Deep, chocolaty and plummy aromas, this is all about black fruit and a ripe, creamy and dark set of aromatics. In the mouth it's a substantial wine, the oak ageing adding a warming, spicy, coffee and cocoa under-pinning, but the sweetness of the fruit and a nicely tart, plum skin edge of roughening tannin and acidity gives this a bit of cut and thrust, lengthening the finish nicely.
(2019) Comparing to the 2016 vintage side-by-side was fascinating, with a such a clear family resemblance, but slightly different personalities. I found this 2017 just a little more luscious than the cool and elegant 2016, the mid-palate fruit just a little more peachy and sweet, and yet that towering, zesty acidity pushes through, with a similar grip and texture, and firm, dry clarity in the finish. Another absolutely lovely Douro white, perception-changing and experessing the minerality of the terroir.
(2019) A blend of traditional local grapes, Viosinho, Codega de Larinho, Malvasia and Rabigato, this surprises as Douro whites so often do with its particular freshness and mineral intensity. Unoaked, it does go through malolactic, which only rounds-out the texture and perhaps softens the acidity a little, but it stays dry, flecked with a salty mineral character, yet there is a lemon rind fruit and light waxiness there, almost like a dry Clare Valley Riesling perhaps, into a long and substantial finish of texture and flavour. Delicious and understated. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) What a beautifully aromatic wine, a deep, deep pool of black fruits, brushed with oak to give cedar and extra spice. In the mouth it is very firm, the authoritative tannins gripping, and suggesting it will cellar well and improve over the medium term, because the fruit is there OK: more black fruit, edged with a tart cherry and plum-skin acidity and grip, into a long finish. I'd cellar this for a couple of years or decant for an hour or two before serving. Made by Rui Cunha of Secret Spot fame.
(2018) A blend of indigenous varietieties Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, Viosinho, Códega and Touriga Franca grown on granite soils at 550 metres altitude, and given a full four years on the lees. There's a bold green apple fruitiness to this, aromatically touched by herbs and melon-skin character, a little breadiness. In the mouth the mousse is lively, and there's a touch of toast in the background, a slightly more phenolic feeling than a wine made from typical Champagne grapes, the 10g/l dosage leading to an easy and elegant finish.
(2018) What a terrific wine this is. Perhaps it's the fact that it is made by the traditional method from the Champagne grape Pinot Noir that has me on more familiar territory, but the beautiful fruit, depth, poise and substance of this wine with only 5g/l dosage made for fabulous drinking. Eight years on the lees has resulted in a touch of coppery depth to the colour and a nose of baked apple pie, lovely yeasty autolysis and a deep almost marmalade fruit note. In the mouth it is rich with a rolling mousse and such lovely, vivid flavours, small red berries etched by acidity, and long into the creamy beautifully balanced finish. A bargain for a wine of this quality.
(2018) Made from Touriga Franca, this spends 16 months on the lees and has a dosage of 9g/l. A very pale salmon-to-peachy pink, the nose shows really nice bready, pastry-like autolysis due to that considerable time on the lees, and the sweetness as it strikes the palate is abundant: the dosage is moderate but clearly the ripeness of the fruit shines through. There's a nice twist of endive bittersweetness, the crisp mousse and lovely citrus freshness of the acidity giving it great freshness and agility. I really enjoyed this quaffable but finely tuned sparkling rosé very much
(2018) A remarkable wine that spent a full 84 months - seven years - on the lees. It is made by the traditional method from the Gouveio variety, one of the traditional grapes of the Alto Douro's cool upper slopes. It's a very refined wine, the delicate fruit profile salty and lemony, but with a tiny floral touch and the long ageing on the yeast adding hints of toast. Crisp and bright on the palate, there's a hint of wheat and toast again, but that lovely dry lemon and orange rind fruitiness is delightful, a very modest 5g/l dosage giving this plenty of bite and raciness, yet it is not at all tart, the long ageing on the lees seeing to that, as well as part of the juice being barrel fermented, to give a certain weight and luxurious richness. Delicious and a huge bargain at its £21.95 price.