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.
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