Quinta do Crasto Old Vines Reserva 2005

Posted by

Quinta do Crasto has long been known as one of the best dry wine producers in Portugal. They are located in the Douro and make modern, highly flavourful wines from grapes indigenous to the valley. The Old Vines Reserva is their mid-tier wine that, though the price has crept up over the years, represents the best value for quality in the Crasto portfolio.

Aging Value

Finding age-worthy wines at under $40 in B.C. is a challenge. When it comes to the ‘good value age-worthy gems’ that critics recommend, there is often little actual writing or tasting of how these wines are with the requisite age that supposedly made them worthy in the first place. Collecting wine for mid to long term aging on a budget can also be confounded when those aging are unable to compare their wines to the more expensive blue-chip wines that made the reputation for wine’s ageability.

For example, this wine was named Wine Spectator’s #3 wine of the year in 2008. But at that time the magazine was not able to tell its readers what this would taste like with age. Many times, such touted bottles can fall apart or fail to meet their promise. Loading up a cellar based on such recommendations may not pan out.

Thus, it’s nice to revisit these wines over time. I am also lucky enough to have tasted and experienced many so-called “blue-chip” wines with age, and have a base for comparison with the ‘values’. So how does this good value old vines Reserva fair after 8 years in the bottle?

The Sweet Spot

Quinta do Crasto crafted a superb wine in 2005. I’ve had both the 2003 and 2004 vintages of this wine with and without age and the 2005 is a clear winner amongst those, with greater elegance and finesse but also a powerful core of fruit and intensity. This is a bold wine, with a funky edge to the fruit. But make no mistake, this is modern, clean wine. The vanilla/caramel oak influence remains apparent today, and might prove a little dominant for oak-phobes, but it complements the wine well and makes sense when the wine is paired with food. I chose a cassoulet along with duck confit and garlicky beurre Gasconne from Oyama. I found this pairing far superior to the more classic Madiran or Cahors.

So, at the original price this was an impressive bargain for a truly mid-term age worthy wine that stands toe to toe with bottles at the $50 level.

Very Good+ to Excellent
$35 at BCLDB (when purchased, current vintages are $43) a Highly Recommended Value at the original price

Comments

  1. Brad
    November 23, 2013

    Hi Shea,

    So I’m curious then, how much longer do you think this would go, or is it at it’s peak right now? I wasn’t lucky enough to get a 2005 when they came out (they seemed impossible to find), but I do still have one bottle of the 2004 left and would like your opinion as to how much longer to hold onto it for? I had my 2nd to last 2004 about 2 years ago and it was drinking fine, but I felt it still had enough acidity to carry for a few more years.

    And can you recommend any other ageable wine that has an equally good QPR? I haven’t found many. Perhaps those 2007 Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga’s last year for $45 or the newly released 2005 La Rioja Alta Viña Arana Reserva’s at Liberty for $40 are in the ballpark.

  2. Shea
    November 24, 2013

    Brad,

    I can’t speak for the 2004 as I too last had it about 2 years ago. The 2005 vintage could have aged for another few years, but it’s all about what you seek in an older wine. For me, the 2005 should be consumed now as it remained structured and with enough fruit to balance with the oak. There would be a risk in aging it longer as the fruit could dissipate without the oak integrating, which I feel is a real risk. So, if it were me I’d probably drink up my 2004’s before the end of 2014.

    It’s not too hard to find $50 age worthy wine (e.g. most Rioja riservas are under $50); however, under $40 is a real challenge in B.C. There used to be a St. Joseph from Vincent Paris in the province at just at or under $40 that could definitely age and is a stellar wine. I think Liquid Art imports them – you might be able to do a case order. A couple Chianti Classicos are under $40 and worthy of short term aging (Isole e Olena, Fontodi), though not long term. I think a real bargain is the Pesquera Ribera del Duero, which is still under $40 and in a good vintage can age 8-10 years. It remains one of my favourite Spanish wines. Ridge Zinfandel can age too, and I think their entry level (3 valleys) is under $40 – though I confess to preferring Zinfandel young. Another good bet is Aglianico. Feudi di San Gregorio makes a Basilicata Aglianico that I’ve seen in the province at under $40, which can easy age 8-10 years and is a very good wine. The problem is that these wines tend to be here for a short time, then disappear for years as importers abandon them. Consistency is extremely hard to come by in this province. You can also age Bernard Baudry Chinon for the mid term. The ‘upper end’ single vineyard bottles are available sometimes at the signature BCLDB stores for around $35. There are also a few Cotes du Rhone options that will age a couple years, but I tend not to be overly excited by aging Grenache based wines unless they are the very top (like Rayas or Pegau).

    White is much easier as you can get tons of age worthy wines from the Loire at under $40 (including some of the very best wines of the region), and there are plenty of sub $40 Rieslings that can handle age.

  3. Brad
    November 25, 2013

    Thanks for all the recommendations Shea…as always, highly valued. It did get me thinking though, and the more I thought about it, you’re right, there are a lot of good ageable wines in the market under $50, and even under $40 (albeit fewer). Of the ones you recommended that I know of (Isole e Olena, Fontodi, Ridge [though the single vineyard ones are closer to $50, but I feel worth the extra $$]), I agree they’re great choices. I’ve seen & tried the Feudi di San Gregorio a few years ago (but you’re right…I haven’t seen it since), and I’m not familiar with the Vincent Paris, Pesquera, or Bernard Baudry, but I’ll keep a look out for them. What kind of private stores have you seen them in the past? I would also throw the Tenuta I Greppi Crognolo as a potential mid-term ager…one of my new favorite Sangiovese blends for $35.

    If going over the border isn’t considered cheating, then I’d certainly throw a few Washington wines in the mix too, like some of the Betz, Andrew Will, Force Majure, which can come in under $50, or Baer, Efeste, or Amavi which come in under $40. All are good for mid-term aging, the Betz/A.Will probably even long term. I have a few ’07’s which I might keep for another 3-5 years, so we’ll see. Oh, and yes, you’re right, some whites definitely can go the distance at an often more reasonable price range. I’m always keeping my eye out for that Spanish Lopez de Heredia Tondonia white, but I haven’t seen it in awhile.

    Cheers Shea, and thanks for the chatter on this. I love topics such as these.

  4. Shea
    November 25, 2013

    You can get Baudry and Pesquera at bcldb. Kits wine ALS has Baudry. Paris would be a special order.

    I agree with you on the Betz, tho I think they are over $50 Usd now. Add import duties and they are no longer cheap!

  5. Brad
    November 26, 2013

    Thanks Shea. I’m on the hunt!

    As for the Betz, you are right again (dammit)! I picked up a couple bottles of the “Clos de Betz” blend for what I thought was $49 each with no duty, but my memory failed me until I checked my list and realized they were $59 each. Still not bad considering they’re $74 here, but not quite as much of a deal as I thought. Oh well!

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>