(2019) This blend of aromatic varieties including Voishino, Malvasia and Moscatel, was a Wine of the Week in its previous vintage, and this could easily have made that slot too: beautifully fresh, perfumed and crisp, yet with a bit of slippery texture and weight, good orchard and stone-fruit concentration, and a zippy finish.
(2018) Noval's late-bottled vintage Port comes from a single vineyard and, unlike cheaper LBV's, the unfiltered wine will cellar and improve over many years - though its long ageing in cask also means it will drink well from the day of release. This is much more vinous, cherry-scented and immediately dark and firm on the nose compared to the Muscat tasted alongside, though it does have some little violetty floral aspects. On the palate the stripe of liquorice and rasp of plum skins, as well as quite definite tannins, all gives an edge to the sweet and juicy cherry fruit and cocoa richness of the wine. A beauty and on offer at £17.95 for a full bottle in Ocado until 1st January 2019. Use the wine-searcher link for other stockists. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) A remarkable wine this in many, from the producer of one of Portugal's rarest and most expensive table wines, Barca Velha. Barca Velha is a red, as might be expected from the heat of the Douro, but here in Planalto we have an inexpensive, crisp and refreshing, delicate white. The secret to that is altitude, with numerous indigenous grape varieties grown on the upper slopes and picked early to retain acidity and freshness. The result is a wine with a delicate floral and lime freshness and limpidity, but gorgeous texture and big thwack of seaside salinity and pithy lemon to finish. Just terrific - flavour, elegance and enjoyment in this modestly-priced wine. Note that the Wine Society also sells in half bottles. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2018) A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão foot-trodden in lagares, before spending 18 months in barrel at the quinta in the Douro. Black as pitch, the nose is at once meaty and suffused with rich, dark, chocolaty berries, a little kirsch-like lift adds to the charm, elegance and complexity. In the mouth there's a very unforced feeling of concentration, the fruit deep and creamy, but the agile, mineral acidity and rasp of firm tannin giving a juiciness and length. Like all of these 2016's, Noval needs time, but is a beauty in the making. 82g/l Residual sugar.
(2018) Touriga Nacional (30%), Touriga Franca (30%), Tinta Roriz (30%) and Sousão (10%). Not as flaboyantly fruit-forward as either the Barros or Burmester at this stage, classic young vintage Port notes of blue/black fruit, tight and supple, a touch graphite and slightly inky nose. On the palate filled with smooth, sweet fruit, unruffled by tannins, a keen cherry acidity, long and sweet, raisin flavours with a bittersweet edge and cherry acids. I suspect this had considerable potential but is possibly the most closed of the Sogevinus wines at this cask sample stage. 96g/l of Residual Sugar.
(2018) Touriga Franca (40%), Tinta Roriz (30%), Touriga Nacional (20%) and Tinta Barroca (10%). Opaque and dark, there's a touch of meat-stock and woodiness, then dark-roasted coffee beans on the nose, but there is lift too, with a little floral and kirsch character to follow. Extremely rich and sweet on the palate, a real depth of raisin and Maraschino cherry fruitiness, backed up by chocolate and more coffee-bean espresso. A hugely ripe and sweet young Port this, of very good quality. 92g/l of Residual Sugar.
(2018) Touriga Nacional (50%) and Touriga Franca (50%), from vines more than 25 years old. Quite similar to the Barros, but with a lighter, more ashy quality to the aromatics, sappy and fresh, a touch rose-hip in an understated but attractive nose. Super-sweet and super-ripe again, but decisive, slightly higher acid character to this that gives light and precision, backed up with some tannin structure, but the very sweet berry fruit is buoyant and juicy, in quite a different style from the richer Barros. 91g/l of Residual Sugar.
(2018) Touriga Nacional (50%), Old mixed vineyards over 50 years old (50%). Arguably the darkest, most saturated colour of the four Sogevinus 2016s tasted, chocolaty, dark and brooding on the nose, meat-stock and a dark berry fruit coming through. Darkly-fruited palate, a real sense of tannic grip here, drying the mouth with concentrated black fruit essence, but there is a little violetty note here too, suggesting it has more to give. Could well be the wine in this line-up to benefit most from ageing. 91g/l of residual sugar.
(2018) Over the past couple of years I have reported on a few wines being made by Scottish winemaker Andrew Norrie, who after spending some years working with Pinalta in the Douro Valley, moved there and is now making a small range of wines. Interestingly, this wine (and a whisky) was made/blended for a British hard rock band called Burnt Out Wreck, and is being marketed to their fans, I suspect a project and musical genre close to Andrew's heart. The wine is 80% Touriga Nacional and 20% Touriga Franca from the Tua Valley, foot trodden in lagars before four months in French oak. Deeply coloured, there's a lovely violet edge to the fruit, pepper and a sense of elegance to red and black berries. Very pure, essence of blackberry fruit on the palate, a nice biting edge of cherry skin and plum skin acidity. Tannins do a good job here, nicely roughening the vivid fruitiness, in a balanced tangy finish. Anyone looking for more information can link up with Andrew on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/andrew.norrie.3.
(2018) A very typical blend of Douro grape varieties, 60% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz and 15% Touriga Franca, this spent 12 months in a mix of American and French oak barrels. Fragrant with balsamic notes, plenty of chocolate and vanillin oak showing, and lots of ripe dark berry fruits. In the mouth a big swirling pool of black fruits, for me just a bit too much oak giving a slightly resinous quality, but it's plush, deep, creamy and packed with fruit, and will find many fans especially if matched to venison, with a touch of bitter chocolate enriching the sauce perhaps.