From Port to Portugal. Tom Cannavan was last year's Portuguese Wine Writer of The Year, and as such selected the 50 best wines out of about a thousand tasted. Tom's a great guy - I've known him almost as long as I've been in the trade. He also has a great palate and understanding of wine, and so I was looking forward to tasting his favourites. I was not disappointed. Two of the wines came out of nowhere and blew the back of my head off with bizarre awesomeness (the Dúvida and the Ameal sweetie) whilst the overwhelming quality of the rest would do any country proud.
There are no scores, but hopefully the quality comes through in the notes.
See if you can guess where the whites end and the reds begin.
Julia Kemper Reserva 2009
Bright lemon nose, pithy with oats.
Confit, juicy palate. Long with bracing citrus.
Casa de Mouraz 2009
Chantilly, creamy nose, touch floral.
Rounded and gentle with nice mouthfeel and bright citrus underneath.
Pear drop nose, quite confected but not in an off way.
Again with pear drop on the palate, very much a glacé candy thing.
Alvarinho Dorado Superiore 2008
Toffee and butterscotch, weird but groovy.
Rich and creamy on the palate, nice weight with obvious leesy balanced woodiness.
Arenae Colares Malvasia 2006
Spicy nose, floral but peppery.
Spiced wax on the palate.Most bizarre. Kinda cool though. Lime wax.
Very mute nose. Coaxing brings rich toffee.
Manuka honey.Palate much from the nose. Toasty and quite decadent. A bit tropical as well.
Lemon roasted in hay on the nose. Nice.
Superb textured mouthfeel - hay and oats rolled in lemons and honey, bright and fresh too.
Herdade dos Grous 2010
Esporão Private Selection 2009
Palate as big and rich as always.
Quinta dos Carvalhais Colheita Seleccionada 2006
Toffeed pineapple and clotted cream.
Rich, toasty and kind of crazy on the palate.
Alves de Sousa Reserva Possoal 2005
Nettles and pine on the nose.
Gripping, bracing palate. Green and peppery. Bizarre but cool.
Quinta Sant'ana Riesling 2009
Mute, rubbery nose. Touch of lime and Flint.
Brighter and juicier on the palate than expected. Nice, but why?
Valle Pradinhos 2009
Rose and Turkish delight with potpourri and eastern spice.
Palate is luscious. All comes through from the nose. Lovely.
Vinhas das Ira 2006
Very plummy nose with a touch of tar. Bright fruit.
Soft and pleasing red fruit though a touch disjointed on the acidity.
Quinta Dona Maria Reserva 2006
Dark and tarry fruity nose.
Broody palate, but crunchy too. Good length. Lovely.
Pera Manca 2007
Beautifully rounded and soft. Bit of tannic grip at the finish, but mostly cocoa plums.
Terrenus Reserva 2007
Spearmint, cocoa, brambles and tar.
Bit aggressive on the palate.
Scala Coelli 2007
Perfumed nose. Dark fruit too, but good perfume.
Rustic, elegant palate, though a touch thin.
Massive fruit extraction on the nose. Stewed? Confected?
More genuine on the palate.
Solar dos Lobos Grande Escolha 2008
Soft on the nose, gentle fruits. Bit of earth.
Big grippy tannic rustic brilliant Portuguese stuff.
Marias da Maladinha 2007
Fruit forward nose - cassis and bramble.
Gentle palate. Bit of a curveball. Subtle and charming.
Quinta do Francês 2008
Good balance and mouthfeel. Nothing jumps out but the general harmony.
Meaty and rubbery nose.
Meaty and rubbery palate. Weird.
Quinta das Bageiras Garrafeira 2001
Big and briary, minty, forest floory nose. Tired?
From bottle - better fruit, still mature, but more complete. Leathery, gripping but gentle, lovely red and black stone fruit. Brilliant.
Quinta dos Termos Selecção 2007
Black cherries and general secondaries.
Not grabbing me. Dusty.
Quinta dos Roques Touriga Nacional 2008
Cherries, cassis, woodland.
Quite warm. Big brash beautiful beast.
Quinta de Lemos White label 2007
Touch jammy on the nose.
Rich, enormous palate. Big, juicy stuff. Touch stewed but in a nice way. Saddle leather.
Munda Touriga Nacional 2008
Cherry nose again but with candy floss.
Lovely palate layered with cherries and tannin and a bit of candy.
Quinta da Falorca Lagar Reserva 2004
Touch fermenty on the nose.
Soft cherry palate with nice rounded notes. Still big, but gentle. Bright fruit.
Cabriz Reserva 2008
Nice nose and palate, but again, not jumping out.
Quinta do Corujão Reserva 2007
Dark nose, minty and brooding with black stone fruit and berries of darkness.
Again, lighter on the palate. Elegant, balanced and tasty. Dark fruit, polished tannins, nice perfume and lift. Great balance.
Not getting much on the nose. Dusting of fruit.
Gorgeous, gentle palate. Mature notes. Rounded. Lovely.
Tar and bramble nose.
Ripe and dark fruit on the palate. Polished. Bit super-portuguese
So good, such balance of ripe fruit and tannin. Great elegance, juicy. Fantastic.
Closed nose. Dark though.
Touch thin and hot, but perhaps needs time.
Heady, jammy fruit on the nose.
Big, but a touch simple.
Quinta do Portal Touriga Nacional 2009
Violet, flowery nose. The first of the day. Tea leaves and flowers.
Crunchy candied violets, purple flower petals.
Quinta do Noval 2007
Lovely mouthfeel, texture and structure that cradles the fruit.
Quinta da Romaneira Reserva 2008
Broody with mint herbs and dark fruit.Balanced, polished palate. Why does polish irk me so?
Quite ripe nose. Juicy, gets the taste buds going.
Intense juiciness, bursting stuff. The tannins take awhile to come through from it.
Quinta do Vale Meão 2008
Perfumed cherry and basil, sage and forest.
The palate is at another level. Soft and nuanced mouthfeel with stones and stone fruit slowly revealing over a long progression.
Quinta de Tecedeiras 2008
Minty pine and forest.
Pretty on the palate. Good balance, soft and long.
Quinta do Infantado Reserva 2008
Very deep nose.
Intense, concentrated dark fruit with touches of tea leaf and pipe tobacco on the finish.
Afros Vinhão 2009
Barn yard. Nose and palate.
Soft, gentle. Nose & palate.
Vale d'Algares Selection 2008
Meaty, fruity nose.
Starts light and then builds, to bursting point.
Fruit and wood varnish.
The palate explodes like a supernova and then collapses like a black hole, sucking all matter in the mouth and face back down the throat. Awesome and crazy.
Quinta do Ameal Special Harvest 2007
Yellow plums soaked in honey. Spearmint.
Tensile structure of a table wine. Sinewy and brilliant honey, figs and apricots with plum skin, baked lemons and a nice, textured stoniness underneath. Awesome.
Moscatel de Setúbal Supierior 10 Anos
Nice example of the style
Tasted at The Balmoral, 8/6/2011