Highlights: El3mento 2017 Douro, Portugal

El3mento is a joint venture between Niepoort winemaker Luís Pedro and Carmelo Peña (who makes wines in the Canary Islands under the Ikewen label). They also make a wine from Gran Canaria, and both are vinified in terracotta amphorae. This wine comes from a high-up (600 m) north-facing vineyard in the Douro. Whole bunch ferment, extended skin contact and sulfites only at bottling. One 1000 litre amphora made.

El3mento 2017 Douro, Portugal
12% alcohol
£28 Bar Douro
There’s a slight balsamic lift on the nose, with focused black cherry and berry fruit aromas, with a hint of pepper and meat in the mix. It’s a little surly and wild (reductive?) on the palate, but there’s a core of sweet black cherry fruit with some appealing savoury character, and a sweetness to the acidity. There’s also a touch of earth and clay character. Thought provoking, a little wild, but also so drinkable and balanced. A fresh take on the Douro, and it works really well. 93/100

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