The wines of Portugal and South West France
Ben Mason and Michael Anderson, The Wicklow Wine Co.
1. Quinta de Cabriz Branco, Dão 2003
sweet, smooth, bit of tartar, some acid. Quite refreshing, pleasant. A
blend; the second grape is Encruzado. 12%
2. Redoma Branco, Niepoort, Duoro DOC, 2002
of oak on the nose. Quite burnt. Good fruit meets wood with excellent
fresh acidity. Fresh oaky palate; a food wine. Good, but worth the
The grapes are Rabigato (Cat’s tail), Codega and Viosinho. 12.5%
3. Caso do Lago Reserva Tinta Roriz & Tinta Barocca, VR Ribatejo,
and clear. Leathery nose. Quite concentrated but ‘rustic’ and not too
unctuous. Decidedly ‘hot country’, but with enough acidity to keep it in
check and too hide the alcohol – 14.5%. Quite port-like and woody. A
very well-made wine from a good year.
4. Quinta da Cabriz Touriga Nacional, Dão 2000
violet nose, restrained; more violets in the mouth, light but lots of
depth. Slightly meaty. Said to be like Burgundy and the top wine of
Portugal, but they can’t trace the Touriga Nacional grape. Very nice but
5. Vertente Tinto, Niepoort, Duoro DOC, 2001
black cherry colour, Mineral nose with hint of violets. Good grip, some
burn and plenty of violets in the mouth, cooled by a fresh acidity.
Well-balanced. Very good. Made from port grapes; Touriga Nacional, TF and
6. Mirage du Joncal, Bergerac 2000
dark colour, a bit dumb. New oak, vanilla, but not filtered, fined and no
additional yeast; all natural. A lot of fruit behind it, very well
integrated for a 2000 wine (2000 was a good year in France too). Will
keep another 6 or 7 years. 70% Merlot, 30% Cab Sauvignon. 13% alcohol.
About 6,000 bottles made.
7. Les Chemins d’Orient, Cuvee Ariane, Pécharment, 2000
on the nose, not too stern, berries. Intense. Lovely but preferred the
previous. Will improve too. Some sour milk from the Cab Sauvignon
noticeable at the finish. Cab Franc 25%, Cab Sauvignon 25%, 50% Merlot.
19 months in oak. Pécharment is in NE Bergerac.
8. Le Carignan, Domaine d’Aupilhac, vdp de Mont Baudile, 2000
murky. Spicy, smoky, warm, farm. Bi burn, loads of fruit pastilles,
fresh, refreshing, lovely. Old wood only; all natural, no additives,
yeasts etc. Maker of this and next two is Sylvain Fadat.
9. Montpetroux, Domaine d’Aupilhac, Coteaux de Languedoc, 2000
Much more complex. Maybe
slightly oxidised? Quite fresh with good grip. Very interesting but not my
thing. Carignan 18%, Mourvedre 38%, Syrah 30%, Grenache 10%, Cinsault 4%
10. Le Clos, Domaine d’Aupilhac, Coteaux de Languedoc, 2000
Big, dark, broody, intense,
fruit pastilles nose.Silky, oaky (new wood for 22 months). Superb,
fresh, intense, complex, balanced. Shame about teh price, but
gorgeous. 40% Mourvedre, 40% Carignan, 20% Syrah. 500 cases
made; no 2003 (too ripe).
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