Spotlight on Portuguese Dry Wine: Quinta do Crasto Vinha da Ponte 2003
Probably the best represented of Portugal’s top wineries in British Columbia, Quinta do Crasto has been making wine for almost 400 years. It is now run by the Roquette family whose lineage and relationship with Quinta do Crasto reaches back to the beginning of the 20th century.
A Rare Single Vineyard Bottling
Crasto makes a wide range of table wine, from the cheap and easy drinking Flor de Crasto to single varietal bottlings of Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz to its two top bottlings of single vineyard wines: the Vinha Maria Teresa and this, the Vinha da Ponte. All the wine is grown and made in the Douro valley.
It is rare to find single vineyard table wines (and, for the most part, port) from Portugal. It is perhaps the youth of the high end table wine industry that has yet to discover all the possibilities of site and terroir. The Vinha da Ponte is an excellent example of how good single vineyard wine can be from the Douro.
French Structure, Portuguese Character
With vines nearing a century of age, the Vinha da Ponte vineyard is planted in schist soils with a field blend of 22 different grape varieties, which is likely what gives this wine its unique character. As is common in the steep Douro vineyards, the grapes are picked by hand.
An aristocratic, bordeaux-like nose offers cassis, sandalwood, and slate. This is a wine with great balance but also with the unique stamp of Touriga Nacional: firm tannin and a unique richly intense brambly dark berry fruit character. Delicious, lithely integrated oak gives the wine structure and poise and vinification gives it an easy, silky texture.
Thus, a wine with the structure of a French wine, but the flavour and density of a Portuguese wine. I thought it was the best I have yet tasted in this profile and, while it will likely improve with a couple more years, it is clearly within its prime drinking window.
Excellent to Excellent+
$133 at BCLDB
P.S. This is likely to be my last post in several weeks as I head off on vacation to France to visit the vineyards of Alsace and the Rhone.