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Some leading Portuguese wines  

La Vigneronne tasting, May 2002

An interesting mix of high-end wines from Raymond Reynolds’ portfolio, with an old Colares thrown in for good measure. Some really good wines here. Prices given for those wines stocked by La Vigneronne.

Casa de Saima Branco 2000, Bairrada
Bairrada is best known for its sturdy red wines, but this modern, fresh white is an interesting wine. Crisp lemony, floral nose leads to a fairly intense herbal, lemony palate. Bone dry.  Very good+ (£7.95)

Casa de Saima 1999, Bairrada
Really interesting traditional-styled red. Mid coloured, this has a sweet spicy, leathery, herby nose with a dusty edge. The palate dry, taut, leathery and spicy, finishing with dusty tannins. A chunky, sinewy wine. Very good+ (£7.95)

Quinta das Bágeiras 1999, Bairrada
Slightly shy, dry, spicy nose, with just a touch of dusty fruit. Structured palate is quite dense and savoury.  Tight-knit herby, spicy wine. Tough but still attractive; not fruit driven. Very good+ (£7.95)

Quinta das Bágeiras Reserva 1999, Bairrada
Deep vivid red colour, with a slightly fading rim. Very attractive forward nose displaying sweet berry fruit with a complex herby edge; almost exotic. The palate has lovely ripe forward fruit with firm tannins, a savoury edge, and juicy acid on the finish. Lots of interest here. Very good/excellent (£15.95)

Quinta de Baixo Reserva 1999, Bairrada
Deep coloured. Slightly shy nose is quite closed with a touch of herby berry fruit. Good density of tight berry fruit on the palate, which is firmly structured with a dusty edge. Quite closed at present and needs time. Very good (£10.75)

Quinta de Baixa Garrafeira 1996, Bairrada
Deep red/black colour. Quite a rich nose with some sweetness to the fruit, a touch of lush menthol and some herbiness. The palate is concentrated with savoury herbal complexity, firm (almost rasping) tannins and a dry spicy finish. A big wine that probably needs some time to settle down. Very good/excellent (£18.75)

Quinta das Maias Jaen 1999, Dão
Striking nose of vivid, bright cherry fruit with a herby edge: almost Pinot Noir-like, with a touch of lifted acidity. The palate shows crisp, juicy fruit: attractive and herby with some tannin and well-integrated oak. The high acidity keeps things very fresh. Very good/excellent (£12.95)

Quinta dos Roques Afrocheiro Preto 1999
Forward nose shows ripe, sweet spicy fruit with a lush caramel-laced edge. Rich, dense palate shows ripe cherry and plum fruit with some spicy new oak and a touch of vanilla sweetness. Interesting but a touch pricey for what is on offer. Very good+ (£12.95)

Quinta dos Roques Reserva 1999, Dão
The nose shows restrained savoury herb and caramel notes; rounded and quite sweet edged. The palate is complex and dense with bright acidity and youthful, tight fruit. There’s some tannin and integrated new oak, but this wine needs some time to develop real complexity. Very good+ (£14.95)

Quinta dos Roques Touriga Nacional 1999, Dão
Complex nose of sweet spicy fruit with notes of herbs, caramel and new oak. The dense palate is tannic and savoury with rich berry fruit and quite a bit of new oak. It’s a youthful, classy wine that should show its best after some time in bottle: all the ingredients are there. Very good/excellent (£14.95)

Niepoort Redoma 1997, Douro
Very deep red/purple colour. Intense nose shows rich herby blackcurrant and plum fruit with just a touch of new oak. The palate is concentrated, chewy and herby with rich fruit and some tannic structure. There’s also an attractive medicinal edge. Quite classy stuff. Very good/excellent.

Colares Chitas 1970
An endangered species, Colares, and this 30 year old example was thrown into the tasting as a curiosity piece. I was pleasantly surprised, but the again I really hadn’t been expecting much. Pale red with a brick red/orange rim. Open evolved nose shows sweet herbal notes with caramel and leathery edge. The  bone dry, leathery palate shows good acidity and surprisingly good balance. This is really interesting, drinking very well now. Very good/excellent

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