(2022) A typical Douro blend of 30% touriga franca, 30% tinta roriz, 25% tinta amarela and 15% touriga nacional, made in stainless steel. Vinous and dark fruited, cherry and plum with a wisp of smokiness. In the mouth this has a stripe of tannin that is dry and savoury, quite a grippy tannin profile, but the juiciness of the vine fruits and acid keep in mouth-watering and well-balanced.
(2022) Suggested by Laithwaites as a good mixer for a long drink with tonic and a sprig of rosemary, this is a relatively unusual rosé Port, made by Alvaro van Zeller. Quite delicate rose-touched floral aromatics over berry fruits. There is good sweetness on the palate, a touch of creamy toffee, but the gentle bite of the spirit and very good acidity combine to give a refreshing finish. Would also do well with cheeses I think.
(2022) From 40- to 70-year-old vines of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, made by the Alvaro Van Zeller. Bold and vibrant crimson/black colour, and fabulously chocolaty, sumptuous aromas, laden with spices and cocoa, a little violet lift adding a top note to the plush aromas. In the mouth there is huge sweetness and ripeness of creamy fruit, super density and smoothness to the tannins and the fruit, underpinned by high quality French oak and hinting at Port-like flavours, copious sweetness and length. A fascinating and fabulous, large-scaled wine (15% alcohol).
(2021) Ruby at the core with a broad tawny rim, Noval's 2007 Colheita is a single vintage Port of very high quality that was aged for 13 years in wooden barrels at the Noval cellar. That means it is a wine with wonderful maturity and instant drinkability, unlike Vintage Ports which often require decades after release to show their best. There are deep, soulful aromas of walnut and old polished wood, a twist of Seville orange and delightful hint of shellac in the mix. In the mouth terrific balance of sweetness and cherry-ripe fruit, with those aged notes, a liquorice intensity and concentration and such a creamy texture, flowing seamlessly into a sweet, beguiling finish with outstanding length. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) Noval's LBV is a serious wine, for drinking or extended cellaring, coming from a single vineyard. The fact that it is unfiltered means it will throw a sediment and may need decanting at some point, but that also increases its capacity to age. A sumptuous nose of liquidised blackcurrants and ripe black cherries shows plenty of chocolaty depth, and high quality spirit gives warmth without any alcoholic burn. In the mouth it is utterly delicious, with copious sweetness, a dry and firm tannin and acid framework that adds some rigour and length, and beautiful balance into a very long finish.
(2021) What a beautifully perfumed wine made from Voisinho and Gouveio, lots of floral character, lots of downy peach skins and mint, a hint of citrus peel. The palate has a streaking freshness of salty minerality and lemon zest, but there is charm too, a mid-palate peachiness, but then the citrus and salts absolutely powers through the finish, the oak perhaps adding a little roundness, but surprisingly fresh. Vinified in 225-litre oak barrels, 30% new oak, the head pieces made from Acacia rather than oak to lower the oak character. Christian is experimenting with 500-litre barrels at Romaneira and likes what he sees so far.
(2021) This has 25% Syrah in the blend along with Touriga Nacional and some other local grapes. It has a delightful nose, real floral lift and buoyancy, creamy berries and delicate cedar spices. The palate has lots of energy and bite, keen but creamy tannins and a stripe of meaty acidity to give this some heft as well as charm.
(2021) The blend varies from year to year but always bigger proportions of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Francesa, in this blend 80% Nacional. Again, floral hints to the creamy, quite dense black fruits, some clove spice and graphite. Great density and structure here, the ripe and creamy tannins give great grip against fresh cherry-pit acidity, and the black fruit builds through the mid-palate in terms of fullness and creamy sweetness. The finish has lovely balance and purity, finishing on fruit extract and acidity.
(2021) Essentially the same blend as the 2017, a slightly dustier character, a little more red fruited and has the rose-like florals. The palate coming together beautifully with that buouyant red fruit, a bit of fat and juiciness through the mid-palate, supple, but the density is offset by striking acidity, juicy and with a squirt of lemony freshness to end on the acid line and fruit.
(2021) Christian says this had 50% new oak in this vintage, much more than normal, because of the quality of fruit. A touch of balsamic quality, but then wonderfully fresh and focused, a rounded, creamy, wonderfully smooth and rounded character, but that peony fragrance and perfume exudes from the glass. The palate is taut and relatively firm and muscular because of the ripe but striking tannins, but there is so much flesh and charm from the sweet fruit too, once again running into a fresh, mineral-driven finish.