The wines of Pormenor, Douro, Portugal

Pedro Coelho is the winemaker behind Douro winery Pormenor. He explains that his philosophy is to make wines with minimal intervention, using only old vines and natural yeasts. ‘Our youngest fruit is sourced from 50 year old vines, which produce our Rosé, and this rises to over 100 years old for the reds,’ he says. His only additions are SO2 before bottling and sometimes tartaric acid, although he does tend to pick early and the alcohol levels here are lower than in many Douro wines. ‘We aim for freshness of fruit and vibrancy,’ he says, ‘looking always for the vineyard expression.’

Coehlo sources grapes from old vineyards in the Douro Superior and Cima Corgo. He has experience working at Quinta do Portal, and also Niepoort, where he met Luis Seabra who has been quite an influence on him. It’s nice to see someone specializing in Douro whites in this way.

I recently tasted through these wines and was impressed. I’ve also included notes from a tasting a year ago.

Pormenor Branco 2019 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. This is an interesting wine. It’s a field blend from higher vineyards in the Douro Superior, with the main varieties Rabigato, Malvasia Fina and Códega. Wild-fermented and aged in small stainless steel on fine lee. It’s very fresh, fruity and bright with a slight saline twist to the lemon and grapefruit notes, with some fine herbs on the finish. Lovely acidity: such a light, fresh, intense expression of white Douro. 93/100

Pormenor Reserva Branco 2019 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. This is complex and layered with powerful citrus fruit, a touch of nut and spice, and really keen acidity. There’s some structure under the fruit, and as well as the intense acidity, there’s a savoury, waxy, nutty edge. Still primary and intense, this could develop in very interesting ways. Finishes stony and lemony. 93/100

Pormenor A de Arinto 2019 Douro, Portugal
12% alcohol. This has a fresh, intriguing nose with candied lemon, a touch of brine, and a bit of tropical fruit richness. There’s a lively lemony core on the palate, framed with a spicy, salty, savoury character and then in the middle, there’s some melon and pear richness. This is so taut and lithe, offering lots of flavour, but neatly compressed by the acid line. A really beautiful, intellectual Douro white with immense appeal. 95/100

Pormenor Rosé 2018 Douro, Portugal
12% alcohol. Old vines, field blend, high altitude. This is quite powerful and structured for a rosé with keen acidity and some mineral notes. Shows nice intensity with a tapering spicy finish and notes of lime and redcurrant. It’s a really intriguing wine, with a fairly serious personality. 92/100

Pormenor Tinto 2018 Douro, Portugal
13% alcohol. This is a classic Douro field blend with the main grapes Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela and Rufete. Fermented in a mix of stainless steel and lagar, this is then aged in used oak. It’s sweetly fruited with some softness to the texture, a hint of vanilla and cream, and some nice grainy structure. Very smooth and harmonious, and showing a bit of oak character (even though the barrels were used) which works quite well in this context. There’s nice concentration, some freshness, and structure that points to mid-term ageing potential. 91/100

Pormenor Trilho 2018 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. This is fresh and vivid, with a sappy edge to the juicy cherry and berry fruits. There’s good structure here, with bright acidity. Has some savoury, tarry, herby complexity waiting in the wings. This is a really elegant expression of the Douro, with freshness and good acidity. It’s juicy and vivid, but also has some grip and some savouriness. There’s a lot of potential here: a real vin de garde that needs a few years to show its best. There’s a bit of whole-bunch character here, and the grapes were clearly picked quite early, which for me is a good thing. 93/100

Older notes

Pormenor Branco 2017 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. Rabigato, Malvasia Fina and Codega do Larinho from Carrazeda de Ansiaes in the Douro Superior at 500-600 m. Blue mica schist soil. Stainless steel, no added yeast or MLF. A distinctive wine with a stony edge to the peach and pear skin fruit. There’s lovely depth here, and a bit of baked apple richness. Has a distinctive mineral edge. Lots of interest here with a touch of mint on the finish, and a bit of warmth. 91/100

Pormenor Branco Reserva 2017 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. Rabigato 85% and Malvasia Fina 15%, from vines at 650-700 m. Barrel-fermented in used French oak. This is rich and fresh at the same time offering delicate white peach and pear fruit with some fine mineral detail and a pretty, ripe, table grape note on the mid-palate. Shows delicacy and precision, as well as flavour. Nice finesse here. 93/100

Pormenor Rose 2017 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Rufete and Tinta Barocca from the Cima Corgo. Barrel-fermented in used French oak. No MLF or battonage. This is serious, grown-up rose. Pink/red in colour it has fresh, direct cherry and plum fruit with a juicy edge, and some lovely structure hiding under the fruit. Nice acid line. Has a chalky, salty edge and some fine sappy notes. Gastronomic and quite elegant, it’s a serious wine. 94/100

Pormenor Tinto 2016 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela and Rufete from Soutelo do Douro and Nagoselo in the Cima Corgo. Fermented for four weeks in lagar, inoculation, then aged in used French oak. This has freshness and restraint, with grainy, gravelly blackcurrant and raspberry fruit and a dense, savoury edge and a bit of grip on the finish. Hints of mint and tar, too. This is well balanced and quite refined, with a distinctive savouriness. 91/100

Pormenor Trilho 2015 Douro, Portugal
12% alcohol. Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barocca, Touriga Franca and a bit of Rufete. From Alijo (700 m) and Soutelo do Douro. Three different fermentations in lagar: whole bunch, 50% whole bunch and destemmed. Aged for two years in used French oak. Bright and really fresh with some spicy detail to the cherry and berry fruits. Some floral cherry notes and a real lightness, although this has good concentration of flavour. Elegant Douro: so fresh, detailed and expressive, with a hint of savoury wildness on the finish. 94/100