The owner of the strikingly beautiful Quinta do Crasto is one of the group of great Douro winemakers who call themselves “The Douro Boys” (Dirk Niepoort is also one of them). Apart from Port, the Quinta produces top quality whites and reds. The HMWS visited them in 2016 and last month in London I tasted five vintages of its impressive Tinta Roriz. I think it would be well worth holding a tasting of all the top end wines of the Quinta do Crasto.
These are the wines I have in mind and their trade prices (per bottle):
- Douro Superior White 2015 – £16.89
- Touriga Nacional 2012 – £45.48
- Tinta Roriz 2012 – £45.48
- Vinha da Ponte 2012 – £102.52
- Vinha Maria Teresa 2013 – £112.90
- Colheita 1997 – £33.18
Here are wine writer Tom Harrow’s notes on some of the wines, though not the same vintages:
“Next comes a fascinating 100 per cent Tinta Roriz from 1997. Roriz is Spain’s Tempranillo but is planted less extensively in the Douro, as its strutting, aristocratic, highly strung sensibilities are less tolerated in this harsh land. But here it shows beautifully – all resin, menthol and varnished raspberries. By comparison, Touriga Nacional 2004 shows the sweetness and acid of the local bull’s heart tomatoes with a nose of salted caramel, roasted beets, a whiff of schist and the medicine cabinet.
Crasto’s Douro Reserva is as accessible an introduction to the Douro’s reds as you will find, being slightly softer, sweeter and more supple than some. The 2001 shows further integration and complexities, with key notes of balsa, sandalwood, camomile and cherries in dark chocolate. We then move up to two of the greatest reds of the trip, wines that would be highlights of any excursion to the Douro. Vinha da Ponte 2004, less than two hectares of grapes foot-trodden in a single lagar, is a “goosebump” wine: it was a warm night but the hairs on my arms were duly raised on first taste. It is a wine you feel in your cheekbones; my notes recall coffee bean, prune, lemon thyme and – inevitably from a 100-year-old field blend – one’s notion of the taste of schist.
Finally is Vinha Maria Teresa, an east-facing four-hectare vineyard producing one of Douro’s most prestigious table wines, which also has its own clinic of vines planted elsewhere to replace those dying, in order that its exact DNA can be maintained. Its 2007 – a little fresher than Ponte, with higher-toned fruit, more lead pencil, a sweeter core and slightly more bite – is gorgeous, all graphite and cherry and irresistible seduction. We are the first to taste 2011 (a week from being put into tanks prior to bottling) and, although in this nascent stage, it will clearly be a must for any serious collector.”
The event could start with a glass of Douro Superior White 2015 and the tasting could be followed by a two course dinner with a glass of Crasto Douro Superior 2014 (£16.89). The projected date is 8 June 2017 and the cost pp would be in the region of £43.60.
Before I start the ball rolling, I would welcome your opinion. If you think the Society should go ahead and arrange this tasting and you would like to attend, please let me know as soon as possible. If there is sufficient interest (30 would be ideal), I will book the venue, plan the menu and purchase the wine. – BD
As only 16 members were interested, the event was cancelled. However Tony Lee wrote on 18 May:
“Renna and I were disappointed that you had to cancel the Portuguese tasting. We wondered if it could still go ahead if we were to host it in Renna’s conservatory thus removing the need to rent a room. The numbers would have to be limited, we could probably seat a maximum of 12 which would mean just one bottle of each wine. Regarding food Renna feels that she could cater or alternatively we could possibly get friend of ours who run a catering company to do it. Let us know what you think.” – Tony Lee, From the Camino de Santiago
An attempt is being made to resurrect the event subject to availability of wine. Renna lives in Knaresborough.
- Bent, Gail (19/5)
- Benson, Renna (18/5)
- Dias, Bernard
- Dias, Ramani
- Gamble, S (19/5)
- Gamble, T (19/5)
- Greenwood, Jane (19/5)
- Lee, Tony (18/5)
- Lees, David (19/5)
- Murphy, Carol (19/5)
- Murphy, Peter (19/5)
- Owen, G (19/5)
- Stanier, Tony
- “Could you add my name to the list for the June tasting.” – Jane Greenwood, Leeds, 12th May
“I would be interested in a tasting of Quinta da Crasto wines , however, I am away from 16th June until 1st July. September would be preferable for me.” – David Lees, Wetherby, 12th May
- “Ann and I look forward to a possible tasting of the Crasto wines.” – Prof. Charles Joslin, Harrogate, 8th May
- “We would greatly enjoy attending a tasting of Crasto fine wines if this can be arranged.” – Dr. Stephen Cameron, Pick Hill, 7th May
Updated 23 May 2017