Quinta do Crasto Tinta Roriz 2003
Quinta do Crasto is one of the largest dry wine producers in Portugal. Fortunately, they are also one of the best. Situated in the Douro valley, where grapes for the famous port wines are grown, Quinta do Crasto has a massive range of wines extending from $20 bottlings produced at 450 000 bottles to single vineyard and single varietal bottlings coming in at a mere few thousand bottles. These wines are also hard to find in a lot of the United States, but fortunately here in BC the agency Seacove has a good relationship with Crasto and brings in their entire line of wines. These are the sort of wines to cut your teeth with in the land of dry Portuguese reds as they straddle the line between a modern international style and a more terroir driven approach. I’ve also tasted through almost their entire line of wines and am impressed with the distinctive characteristics of each of the high end bottlings.
At this summer’s Wine Blogger’s Conference the Portuguese wine growers association (or something like that) put on a tasting of Portuguese wines. This was exciting to a lot of bloggers because many had not tasted wines from Portugal at all before. However, we are lucky in the BC market in that we have a few excellent options, Crasto being one of them. And, I think the offerings from Crasto (and Niepoort for that matter) far outclass anything that was being poured at the event down in Sonoma this summer. For all you U.S. readers, there is a big world of portuguese wine that has yet to flow into the states.
However, all that said, I think there may be a bit of over-hype and over-excitement about Portuguese dry wines right now. Yes they are well made and usually good value, but not that many of them are truly distinctive. Other than a small handful of 5-10 top producers, there isn’t that much exciting going on, at least for me. I remain to be persuaded otherwise though, and bottles like this one promise that the region has incredible potential.
Tinta Roriz is another name for Tempranillo. On the nose of this wine I got bacon fat, plum, chocolate, smoke, and crushed dark berries. The palate was reminiscent of Ribera del Duero wines from Spain with smoke, bacon, chocolate, plume, black cherry and a soft licorice lacing. This isn’t surprising given that the Douro Valley is an extension of the same river that flows through Ribera in Spain. I am consistently impressed with how smooth and integrated Quinta do Crasto’s wines are, and this is no exception. And, while I wouldn’t necessarily say that this wine is elegant, I would call it velvety and soft with a very extended mouthfeel. Very distinctly tempranillo, this also brings in the richness and savory qualities of a really good syrah. Definitely worth picking up if you enjoy bigger old world wines a la Ribera del Duero.
$70 at BCLDB