Cais da Ribeira means a wharf by the riverside and that is the name of a Douro Red we are trying. Porto is the main city of the Douro wine region. On the Porto side the Ribeira is on The Douro River and there are restaurants and shops tucked away but there are some grand homes on the river too. And unfortunately there are too many cruise passengers cramming the streets just like Lisbon. Sadly, seeing its transformation over the years leaves no great desire to visit it other than it being a jump off point into the Douro Valley. Really the only reason I will venture into the eye of the cruise ship storm is to visit a friend Alexandre who owns a restaurant called Postigo do Carvão a street up from the river specializing, in my opinion, the best and the freshest simply prepared seafood in Porto. The sardines and sea bass are from heaven and there are shellfish as well but my heart rests with the grilled sardines! And there are meat dishes as well and a well picked selection of Douro Red wines. And if you are hungry an extensive aperitif selection.
To digress a bit I recall dropping in to see him in 2013 for dinner while I was with a journalist writing for The Globe & Mail. I had a Franceschina for lunch unknown to me to be the richest sandwich known to man drenched in slow cooked beer-based gravy. 7 hours later it was a dinner with my journalist colleague with Alexandre laying out a feast for a man with a distended belly. That was rough and I have learnt this type of sandwich must be treated with respect!
Getting back to the Cais da Ribeira 2019. The bulk of the blend is Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional both indigenous Portuguese grapes. In colour black cherry with a purplish tinge. As for aroma blackberry, black cherry, blueberry with a twist of licorice. On the palate it is a wine with subtle and restrained power with moderate tannins. It is full of dark fruits but the wine has an immature character to it. Yes it should sit in the bottle until 2024 and its fruit may stick out its head like a turtle’s from its shell. If I was sitting in Postigo now this wine would suit Cabrito Assada no Forno (grilled baby goat) or Carne de Porco a Alentejana (Fried Pork from the Alentejano with Clams).
Wine drinker profile: A person who likes a robust red wine in its younger years willing to get to know what an excellent wine is in its infancy or for a collector willing to cellar 3-5 years and try periodically to see how it matures. Good for the wine with food type.
(Cais da Ribeira Reserva 2019, DOC Douro Reserva, Barão, Villa Nova de Gaia, Portugal, $13.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 523639, 750 mL, 13.5%, Robert K. Stephen a Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).
Postigo do Carvão, R. da Fonte Taurina 24 (postigodocarvao.com)