Category: Portugal

  • Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port, 2007

    From the cellar: Here’s a bottle that got shoved to the back in the cellar.  We pulled it out almost by accident.  The Wine Spectator had given it 90 points and recommended it be drunk by 2016. Based solely on that professional intel we anticipated it to be fully past, an accident waiting to be […]

  • Carm Reserva Douro (Red Blend), 2016

    Intriguing, unusual blends make us wonder how the experts deduce quality.  This offbeat red (a mix of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Rorix and, wait for it, 5% Tinta Francisca.  Say what?) has the mellow, floral aromas of a Merlot crossed with some chewy, Nebbiolo-ish edges, woodsy, earthy.  Not a chance in heaven, on a […]

  • Evel Real Companhia Velha, Douro, 2014

    Wine Spectator put it in their top 100 in 2016 and, thus, the bottle comes with a neck ribbon.  Somehow it wasn’t 89 points but 90 points and this is where we loathe the pointsters.  Yes, it’s good value, there is as the critics say juicy acidity, it’s warming on the tongue in that way […]

  • Quinta do Vale Meandro, 2015

    A “worth it” blend from the Douro.   The proverbial round, full and meaty red without the weight of round, full and meaty reds.  What they call juicy acidity in the trades, and when it hits the palate it teases and entices on that acidity.  The flavour profile is a bowlful of orchard fruits.  Then, […]

  • The Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Madeira, Charleston Sercial, Special Reserve

    An ode to those who make a profound difference.   If you know who Kermit Lynch is you’re most likely not reading this blog, but if you are reading this blog and you know who KL is you are, like me, a disgruntled fan, having no access to how he’s contributed to reshaping wine consumption […]

  • Conceito Douro Superior, 2013

    I found it very hard to wrap my mind around this.  It was an intriguing if perhaps confounding white, with peaks like the butterscotch of Chardonnay but some valleys with the coarse citrus bite of a mediocre Sauvignon Blanc, and, in the middle, an earthiness reminiscent of Hunter Valley Sem.  All the complexity left me […]

  • Quinta do Convento Douro, 2008

    A classic Portuguese blend (Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional).  And, get this: Not the 2013 sitting on the shelves in Saskatoon but the 08.  For (just) under $30.  I read online someone called this “all structure and no fruit” and loaded with tannins.  Well not the bottle I scored.  It was weighty, but […]

  • Quinta do Cardo Reserva, 2011

    What we said last year, which you can read here, I would echo again (i.e., the 2011 v. 2010)  but basically, a) not spectacular although interesting and exceptionally drinkable and b) very, very, very good value. (Meaning we still have a few in the cellar to plow through.)   Price: Low 20s depending on where […]

  • Quinta do Cardo Reserva, 2010

    The tannins are striking. There is a floral, velvety bouquet, and a deeply impressive (Robert Parker type) fruity finish. But like a smooth take-off that undergoes brief turbulence, the tannins are a bit of a shock to the system. A high scorer with the pointsters it nevertheless seems well-intentioned without perfect balance. For those with […]

  • Churchill’s Estates Meio Queijo Tinto Douro Red

    At the Wells in Hampstead on a Sunday for a roast lamb lunch we went out on a limb and got the Douro red.  It’s true some of the most interesting wines are coming out of Portugal right now, but in my limited experience I have had more misses than hits.  As for this blend […]