Quality control is the name of the game in Portugal’s Douro region perhaps due to the thoroughness of its “regulator” Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e do Porto (IVDP). I must say over the years there have been almost no corked or low-quality wines I have encountered from the Douro.
And price can be deceptive. There have been some big winners under $15 many of those requiring several years of patience and cellaring to really shine. It is as if one is taken back to Bordeaux of decades ago where wines were bottled under the expectation they would be suitable for drinking years later.
So is this wine a Douro winner? It is a blend of the usual suspects Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca. On the nose it is virtually exploding with black fruit. Blackberry with a little hook of spice predominates. There is also some very vibrant black cherry. Also a note of creaminess. On the palate indeed there is some creaminess with some tannins hovering on the medium spectrum. While there may be some creaminess the wine has a firm backbone which might benefit from 2-4 years of ageing. The fruit is strawberry, raspberry with a bit of black licorice.
(Alice Vieira de Souza 2019 Tinto Reserva, DOC Douro, Vieira de Souza Vines and Vines, Celeirós, Portugal, $16.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 548560, 750 mL, 14.5%, RKS Wine Rating 91/100).
Again most Douro reds are built for food. I think some Portuguese soft cheeses topped with homemade cherry jam of which I made a dozen jars of would make this wine proud. Would this pair with the Serra da Estrela soft cheese many Portuguese are so proud of? I am torn on this thinking a Dão Encruzado would be the best match, a LBV Port or this wine? I’d have to return to Portugal to make that determination!