The Douro Valley, nestled in the northern part of Portugal, is not just a UNESCO World Heritage site; it’s the birthplace of Port wine and a region teeming with exceptional still wines. Overlooked terraces, steep inclines, and the winding Douro River make for a picturesque landscape, where viticulture is nothing short of an art form. This article casts a spotlight on some of the valley’s most outstanding wines and offers expansive reviews for each.
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2017
Tasting Notes: This Port showcases deep, dark fruit aromas complemented by hints of fresh herbs and licorice. On the palate, it reveals layers of blackberry, plum, and a dash of dark chocolate.
Review: Quinta do Noval’s 2017 Vintage Port is an exquisite blend of complexity and elegance. Its intense flavors coupled with a velvety texture make it an iconic representation of the Douro’s potential.
Casa Ferreirinha Reserva Especial 2007
Tasting Notes: A red wine that begins with a fragrant mix of red cherries, violets, and spiced oak. The tasting profile is enriched by flavors of wild berries, leather, and a touch of vanilla.
Review: Hailing from one of the valley’s renowned producers, this wine is a beautiful balance of fruit intensity and refined aging. It promises to age gracefully, making it a collector’s gem.
Niepoort Vertente 2015
Tasting Notes: The nose is graced by floral undertones, ripe red fruits, and a hint of spice. The palate is treated to a mix of raspberry, black tea, and subtle earthy notes.
Review: Vertente 2015 stands out as a versatile wine from Niepoort. It boasts both freshness and maturity, a testament to the winemaking finesse of the region.
Quinta do Crasto Reserva Old Vines 2016
Tasting Notes: This wine offers a bouquet of black fruits, lavender, and pepper. Tasting it unfolds flavors of dark cherry, licorice, and a touch of mineral earthiness.
Review: Quinta do Crasto’s Reserva is a tribute to the Douro’s old vines. It captures the heart of the region, presenting a wine that is both powerful and sophisticated.
Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2013
Tasting Notes: Aromas of dried fruit, almonds, and a hint of orange peel greet the nose. This is followed by flavors of rich plum, caramel, and a spicy finish.
Review: Dow’s LBV 2013 is a delightful representation of the depth and richness Port wines can achieve. It’s an indulgent experience that lingers memorably on the palate.
Quinta da Romaneira Reserva 2014
Tasting Notes: This wine beckons with aromas of ripe blackberries, wild herbs, and a touch of clove. On the palate, you’ll find a harmonious blend of dark fruit, cocoa, and a hint of mineral-driven freshness.
Review: Quinta da Romaneira’s Reserva 2014 demonstrates the Douro Valley’s ability to produce still wines that are both profound and captivating. With its structured tannins and balanced acidity, it’s a wine that promises to evolve splendidly with time.
Taylor’s Vintage Port 2016
Tasting Notes: A luxurious aroma of dark cherries, resin, and violets greets the senses. The flavor profile is rich with blackcurrant, licorice, and undertones of mocha, culminating in a lingering finish.
Review: Representing one of the flagship wines of the esteemed Taylor’s house, this Vintage Port is an opulent experience, marrying intensity with elegance. A wine that not only dazzles on its own but also promises cellar worthiness.
Tasting Notes: The bouquet is an enticing mix of red fruits, roses, and a dash of white pepper. As it dances on the palate, it unveils layers of strawberries, hints of leather, and a gentle smokiness.
Review: A wine that embodies the modern spirit of Douro winemaking, Poeira 2015 is both graceful and complex. Its vibrant character speaks of the valley’s unique terroir and the masterful touch of its vintners.
Quinta do Vallado Touriga Nacional 2016
Tasting Notes: This wine, made from Portugal’s flagship grape, offers a nose dominated by floral notes, wild berries, and a touch of vanilla. The palate is a journey of ripe blueberries, violets, and a sprinkle of spice.
Review: Quinta do Vallado’s tribute to the Touriga Nacional grape is nothing short of splendid. A wine that captures the essence of the varietal and the valley’s diverse microclimates, it’s a delightful showcase of purity and finesse.
Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira 10-Year-Old Tawny Port
Tasting Notes: With aromas of dried apricots, toasted almonds, and caramel, this Tawny Port promises a treat. On the palate, it delivers with flavors of honeyed nuts, orange peel, and a touch of cinnamon.
Review: Ramos Pinto’s Tawny Port is a journey through the aging process of Port wines. Every sip is a testament to the delicate balance between fruit and the effects of oak aging, resulting in a wine that’s both sumptuous and elegant.
Stretching along the golden bends of the Douro River, the Douro Valley stands as a testament to the harmonious relationship between nature and mankind. Each wine, from the internationally celebrated Ports to the exceptional still wines, tells a tale of its unique patch of terroir, the climatic challenges of its vintage, and the skill of those who crafted it. The selections in this guide offer a panoramic view into the valley’s vast wine landscape. Whether you’re an avid wine collector or a curious beginner, the wines of the Douro Valley will unfailingly captivate, offering a blend of deep-rooted tradition and modern innovation.
Raise a glass to the entrancing wines of the Douro Valley, Portugal – a tribute to the enduring spirit of the land and its people. Saúde!