I don't have the opportunity to write about the great wines of Portugal very often, but I wanted to diversify from the United States on this one. One of the most famed properties in the Duoro region of Portugal is Quinta Do Crasto. Crasto has roots from the 1600s and has received more recent acclaim for their dry wines out of Duoro. As one of the biggest names in dry Portugese wines, they have helped establish Portugal as one of the major world players in rich and balanced red wines. They have achieved some remarkably high scores from some major publications and after sampling their new releases, the scores make sense.
I recently had the opportunity to try some of the excellent selections from Quinta Do Crasto. One of the most remarkable things that Crasto does is create incredible wines that are priced below market. For instance, their 2012 Flor Do Crasto impressed with its rich flavors and balance that drinks wonderfully straight out of the bottle. The most impressive release was their 2012 Duoro Reserva, which is a blend of 20-30 varietals from 70+ year old vines. I was first introduced to this wine at a large tasting event in Las Vegas this year, as I sampled the 2011 version which has received serious acclaim. While the 2011 needed a lot of time and was somewhat shut down at the time of tasting, the 2012 was quite different. The 2012 was a monster that is reminiscent of a wonderful Left Bank Bordeaux and had wonderful richness, finesse and terroir. The winemaking on this project is absolutely exquisite, as I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to blend 20-30 varietals into a high end bottling. Hats off to the Crasto winemaking team in this effort. I think the 2012 Reserva would be the Washington equivalent of the new vintage (2012) Col Solare. For those who love rich and terroir driven bottlings, the Reserva is right up your alley. These wines are somewhat difficult to find in the Northwest, but there are some specialty wine shops that carry them like Total Wines and Esquin in Seattle. Here are the new fantastic releases from Quinta Do Crasto. Check them out at www.quintadocrasto.pt #quintadocrasto
2012 Quinta Do Crasto ‘Flor Do Crasto’- This rich and impressive effort has a dense core which leads to aromas of violets, blackberry preseves, and blueberry. There are flavors of smoke, mocha, blueberry pie and black cherry. This is just fantastic right out of the bottle and is approachable young. A wonderful value out of Duoro. Drink 2015-2022- 90
2013 Quinta Do Crasto Duoro ‘Superior’- This dense colored wine has aromas of smoke, violets, crème de cassis and oak. The palate brings flavors of blueberry compote, anise, violets and has nice density. The minerality and finish are outstanding. This wine improves after an hour of aeration. Drink 2015-2027- 92
2011 Quinta Do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Port- This new release port comes from a declared vintage. I think it might be hard to distinguish this from some house’s vintage port bottlings. The wine has aromas remisniscent of creosote, anise, cherry cough syrup and tar. This leads to rich and viscous flavors of dark chocolate, blackberry cobbler, Turkish coffee and black cherry. There is wonderful concentraton here as this offers serious value. Drink 2015-2025- 91
2012 Quinta Do Crasto Duoro 'Reserva'- This famed property dates back to 1615, more than 100 years before Duoro became a declared region. The Roquette family assumed ownership of the property in 1981 and have worked hard to expand their vineyard holdings. This blend was aged 18 months in 85% French oak prior to bottling and is a blend of 20-30 varietals. It begins with aromas reminiscent of black cherry, sandalwood, black olive and anise. There are flavors of loganberry, crème de cassis, black olive, black cherry and Turkish coffee. This Bordelaise style red absolutely a delight to sip and savor. The richness and viscosity is there and this blend is wonderful right out of the bottle, not needing any aeration. Drink 2015-2030- 94