Friday, December 31, 2021

Quinta Do Crasto Vinha Da Ponte - A Unique Wine

 Quinta do Crasto is among the best, if not the best Portuguese winery. The Vinha da Ponte wine will be legendary over time and is unique for a couple of reasons. The first is the vineyard. It is situated on the steep slopes of the Douro Valley in schisty soil. There are probably over 30 varieties in this very low yielding, terraced vineyard of more than 100 year old vines. The best known are Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tempranillo, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Dao. There are some white varieties here as well. All is put together in a true field blend.

The second is the winemaking. As I understand it, the grapes are picked at the same time. Some may have an alcohol level of 16%, some of 11%. Obviously, most will be around the 14% mark. The grapes are then foot trodden in traditional lagares. After fermentation, the wine is matured for 20 months in new French oak barrels. This wine is only made in exceptional years, seven times this century so far.

I am drinking the 2015 Quinta do Crasto Vinha da Ponte. I managed to get two bottles to Australia, with great difficulty. The bouquet has lifted aromatics. I smell red and blue forest berries on the nose.

The flavours of this full-bodied wine are unusual. It is very blue fruited. There are red berries as well and some spice. I decanted the wine, as suggested on the back label, but the wine still felt very young with a lot of energy. It was a warm vintage, but the acidity in this wine is high - maybe because some varieties are harvested early for them. Tannins have medium intensity. The oak is smartly integrated and hides behind the strong fruit, which carries through to the long finish.

This is quite a unique wine with a lot of personality. I also have two bottles of the sister wine, the Maria Teresa, but based on this experience, I will leave them in the cellar a little longer.

Score: 96/+++  


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