TN: Three pre-releases (Bairrada, Douro)

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Tomás Costa
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TN: Three pre-releases (Bairrada, Douro)

#1 Post by Tomás Costa » May 18th, 2020, 12:34 pm

Volúpia 2019 (Bairrada). Maria Gomes (i.e. Fernão Pires) Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc. 14.5%

This is a best selling, entry level white from Caves de São Domingos - made in a deliberately commercial, accessible, some would say 'feminine' style.

Very pale, greenish yellow. The nose hits at you mercilessly with an invasive exuberance of white flowers, ripe honeymelon and limoncello-like sweet cytrus, bordering on Chanel no. 5 in its alcoholic intensity, with an unctuous mouth and appropriate acidity, which, however, leaves untouched its intense alcoholic profile. Wine made to impress rather than seduce, and potentially dangerous in the hands of whoever grabs it off the counter at 6€ after a tougher day than usual. I can think of better bargains for my taste, but it's not an incorrect wine.

São Domingos Garrafeira 2011 (Bairrada). 50% Touriga Nacional, 25% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14,5%

Medium dense ruby. This is a ponderous, serious wine. The nose is highly complex yet never dizzying, with intense, stewed black fruit, liquorice, broad beans, chickpea, old furniture, varnish, turmeric powder, blood sausage, and a hint of honey in the afterglow. Medium tannin and acidity, well structured mouth. Enveloping, layered wine, which nevertheless lacks a certain elegance for my taste. Will retaste... 25€ upon release.

Quinta das Chaquedas, Lote 5 Grande Reserva 2017 (Douro). Blend of old vines. 14,5%

This was one of the greatest Douro vintages in recent memory, so it was nearly impossible to make a substandard wine. Not only that, but the Chaquedas vines benefit from privileged geography - right next to Quinta do Vale Dona Maria, one of the bigger Douro players. They also benefit from the wonderful work of oneologist Jorge Alves, who collaborates with Quinta Nova and whose Quinta do Tedo project I should be visiting next month. Needless to say, this was a bottle with a promise of quality.

Dense ruby, with a generous nose of fresh berries, currants, roses, blue flowers, finishing on cedar, eucalyptus and black pepper notes. The mouth is very full, enveloping, simultaneously unctuous and packed with nervous, youthful tannins. Broad, pronounced retronasal. This wine lacks the full aroma of Douro terroir - the smell of its peculiar earth, castigated by the sun, and its wild flora - which I love so much, yet it is nevertheless a wonderful flagbearer of a wonderful vintage, with a long life ahead. 35€ upon release - generously priced given the limited edition (around 2000 bottles).

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Eric Ifune
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Re: TN: Three pre-releases (Bairrada, Douro)

#2 Post by Eric Ifune » May 19th, 2020, 3:26 pm

I haven't had many 2017 Douro tintos yet. I am very impressed with 2015. How does the 17 compare?

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Tomás Costa
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Re: TN: Three pre-releases (Bairrada, Douro)

#3 Post by Tomás Costa » May 19th, 2020, 7:06 pm

Eric Ifune wrote:
May 19th, 2020, 3:26 pm
I haven't had many 2017 Douro tintos yet. I am very impressed with 2015. How does the 17 compare?
2017 will go down as one of the greatest Douro vintages. In Port it is already being hailed as the successor to the legendaries 1945 and 1963. Perfect weather conditions, with a very early harvest. Buying 2017 Douro is pretty much a no brainer.

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Ramon C
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Re: TN: Three pre-releases (Bairrada, Douro)

#4 Post by Ramon C » May 20th, 2020, 12:40 am

Thanks for the notes. Appreciate learning some about Portuguese wines.

Are the release of wines at discretion of producers/winemakers ?
@brera

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Tomás Costa
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Re: TN: Three pre-releases (Bairrada, Douro)

#5 Post by Tomás Costa » May 20th, 2020, 1:30 am

Ramon C wrote:
May 20th, 2020, 12:40 am
Thanks for the notes. Appreciate learning some about Portuguese wines.

Are the release of wines at discretion of producers/winemakers ?
Thank you. I came to the forum wanting to learn, but it's great knowing we can also bring something to the table (perhaps literally).

Over here, whites are usually released around Spring and reds during the Fall. For that reason I was surprised to see that the Lote 5 is already for sale. Certain top level wines, namely vintage ports, will be released shortly before Christmas. But yes, it's up to the criteria of the producer.

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Tomás Costa
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Re: TN: Three pre-releases (Bairrada, Douro)

#6 Post by Tomás Costa » May 21st, 2020, 6:26 am

Tasted the Garrafeira São Domingos again today, as I returned to a restaurant for the first time since March 10th (had braised grouper, sunny day by the sea, gorgeous). Drank a Quinta do Ameal Loureiro with the fish, then retasted the São Domingos. It gained gorgeous olive oil aromas since the last tasting, and the mouth was a lot more involving and integrated. It will age beautifully well past 2030, I'm sure. Cheers to the beginning of the end of lockdown!
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