Aragones – Syrah,
£6 to £10
A bright blush in the glass the aromas are fragrant with strawberry and raspberry aromas dominating with an attractive hint of peppermint playing in the background. The palate offers a well balanced and elegant affair with minimal sweetness and shows off the strawberry and raspberry notes from the nose. Dry Style with natural fruit sweetness.
86 Points Wine Enthusiast.
“Warm and ripe, this is a full-bodied rosé that has the weight and some of the tannins of a red wine. With its vivid pink color and sweet strawberry fruits, it’s fruity and ready to drink.” — R.V. (10/1/2014)
Aragones – Syrah,
£6 to £10
An exceptional dark color with blue tones. It presents a complex ensemble of aromas that combines red fruit compote, ripe plum and small-berried fruits with notes of dark chocolate and pepper. Elegant and well-structured on the palate, extremely full-bodied and full of fruit flavors, a good concentration and firm tannins that will give it great aging potential. A seductive, warm finish that is long-lasting and velvety.
91 Points Wine Enthusiast
“Herbal scents accent the nose of this Port, which otherwise shows pleasant plum and cocoa aromas. More plum on the palate, joined by black cherries and spice. It’s lush and intense, turning a little tart on the finish. Tannins are supple and not overly prominent, even at this young age.” W.E. – November 15, 2003
91 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Seductive, sexy, accessible. Dense with jammy red & black fruits, smoke, earth, licorice. Sweet, layered, full-bodied. Now-2020”
90 Points International Wine Cellar
“Moderately saturated medium ruby. Expressive aromas of black fruits, smoke, tree bark and tobacco, with a slightly green note of roasted herbs. Lush, suave and seamless, with concentrated flavors of black cherry, plum, menthol and tree bark. Not particularly powerful or structured but finishes firmly tannic and long, with a suggestion of walnut skin.” Stephen Tanzer – February 2003
This wine has a lively, young, vibrant color. It is thick and dense, showing whole red fruit, typical of the Douro region. In the glass, it has thick droplets that demonstrate power and softness. On the nose, the first impression is still, yet promising. Notes of blackberry, currant, cherry, raspberry, black plum, jam, and a mixture of fruit slowly reappear, giving the wine complexity and presence. In the mouth, the attack is full, supported by whole delicate tannins and signs of a long life. The 2000 vintage is ready to consume now, or can be cellared for more complexity.
The year 1999/2000 was a dry and hot year. There was less precipitation than usual that caused premature budding to occur and persistent rain from late Apr-May delayed flowering. A dry spell from late May until harvest slowed the grape maturation, which caused high concentrated grapes and a good sanitary status.
The harvest was delayed two weeks later than usual due to the slow grape maturation, keeping small concentrated grapes with good sugar degrees but with high acidity.
The production was inferior to that in 1999, but the quality of the wine was very. The Ervamoira wine was excellent, with good structure, deep color and body. The white wine at Bons Ares were delicious and complex, and at Bom Retiro the wine was phenomenal. All signs were present that a vintage wine would be produced since the first moment of harvest.
Varietal(s) 60% Touriga Nacional, 15%Tinta Roriz, 10% Tinta Barroca, 15% traditional varietals
Aging 20 months in large oak vats, chestnut-tree wood or mahogany
Wine Acidity 4.12%
pH Level 3.88
Residual Sugar 89.2
Deep ruby with violet edges. Perfumed and spicy with notes of blueberries. Round and full bodied palate with youthful fruit and integrated tannins. Finishes with good balancing acidity.
94 Points Wine Enthusiast.
“Assobio is from a single vineyard in the Quinta dos Murças estate. A powerful, structured expression of Douro wine, it has black fruits, dark tannins, some subtle layers of wood aging and great concentration. Dark and richly fruity, it needs to mature before drinking. Wait until 2017.” R.V. (4/1/2014)
The first mention of the property Quinta dos Murças dates back to 1770. However, it is known that the farm had existed under another name since 1714, when it belonged to António Cardoso de Vasconcelos. It is presumed that the name Quinta dos Murças was given as a reference to the nobleman of the royal household, Miguel Carlos Cardoso de Sousa de Morais Colmeeiro Teles e Távora, First-Captain of the town of Murça and owner of Murças since 1756. Despite numerous references to the quality of Quinta dos Murças’ wines, the fact is that the vineyards were constantly neglected with the farm passing from family to family and from company to company until 1943, when Manuel Pinto de Azevedo took over the running of the quinta, renovating the estate and replanting the vineyards. Under the guidance of the committed agronomist José de Freitas Sampaio, Quinta dos Murças was totally transformed, establishing the first vinha ao alto (vertically-trained vines) in Douro in 1955, as well as the first auto-vinification system used in the region, in addition to a new warehouse and winery. Quinta dos Murças remained in the hands of the family until 2008, when the Esporão Group acquired the property from Manuel Pinto de Azevedo’s great-grandchildren, taking over the running of one of the most interesting estates in Cima Corgo.
LBV Unfiltered comes from one single year and one single harvest. Whereas its richer cousin, the Vintage, is bottled in the second year, this wine is bottled in the fourth year. Smoother than the Vintage, more developed and easier to drink. It is a powerful, defiant, full-bodied and harmonious wine. It is a wine familiar with the flavours of chocolate and cheese. After the bottle is opened it remains at its best for a further 15 to 30 days, if properly stored. It is a wine that is not filtered and can therefore either be drunk immediately or be left forgotten in a cellar, developing further complexity.
93 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
“The tannins are rather drying and aggressive on first pour, even if the big fruit is also front-and-center. It is certainly a very different vision of LBV Port than a lot of people will be accustomed to, but it does begin to come around with extended aeration (and a couple of days in the fridge). Fragrant and laced with strong fruit flavors, this ultimately showed beautifully. It really needs some more time in the cellar, but it is approachable if you give it some aeration.”
Gold Medal Decanter World Wine Awards
“Gold Medal World Wine Awards 2014 – Gold Medal & Regional Trophy – Vibrant and full of rich fruit, this is still youthful in colour and shows both ripeness and pleasing restraint on the nose. Spice notes, violet, lavender and deep, dark fruit flavours have lovely freshness, and firm, ripe tannins give good grip. Nicely defined with plenty of complexity to keep it going.” June 2014
Grapes varieties: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca.
Food pairing: Cheese soufflé, Partridge with glazed shallots and artichokes, Game, Cheeses, Chocolate and red fruits desserts.
Ramos Pinto. History.
Founded in 1880 by brothers Adriano and Antonio, this Port house has always had a pioneering spirit. In the early 20th century it became noted for its innovative and enterprising commercial strategies including the distinctive art nouveau advertising campaign.
Among Port producers, Ramos Pinto enjoys the distinction of holding the largest proportion of vineyards in relation to its production, giving them a high degree of control over viticultural methods at harvest time. The House tends 187 hectares (460 acres) of prime vineyards in the Alto Corgo and Douro Superior areas of the famed Douro region, the mountainous valleys formed by the Douro River and its tributaries.
All situated in the areas of the Cima-Corgo and the Douro Superior, the four quintas or estates that make up Ramos Pinto’s holdings are:
Quinta do Bom Retiro: in Pinhão, planted exclusively with red varieties.
Quinta da Urtiga: adjacent to Bom Retiro.
Quinta da Ervamoira: in the far upper Douro, by the Côa river near the Spanish border. Here the grapes grow in dry semi-desert conditions.
Quinta dos Bons Ares: a cooler site with some of the highest vineyards in the Douro. Both red and white varieties ripen here with great natural acidity and fresh flavours.
The award-winning 10, 20 and 30 year old Tawnies are produced at Quinta da Ervamoira and Bom Retiro respectively.
It is floral, fragrant and delicate, with lime and citrus aromas enhancing a fresh and fruity palate.
The heady scents and opulent ripe fruit which define the Croft Vintage Port style are supported by a mesh of taut, muscular tannins. These, together with impressive depth of flavour, make the 2011 one of the most structured and powerful of recent Croft vintages.
Deep purple black colour. The complex seductive nose has the archetypal Croft opulence but displays impressive depth, background and reserves of aroma. A rich, powerful fruitiness provides the backdrop for heady scents of blossom and rock rose. Luscious ripe berry fruit flavour surges though the palate. The wine’s velvety texture is underpinned by taut, muscular, perfectly integrated tannins which provide stamina with an attractive firmness and vigour to the finish. More virile and structured than some recent Vintages from this classic house, the 2011 nevertheless displays all the rich ripe fruitiness and exotic scented character associated with the Croft house style.
97 Points Wine Spectator
“Effusively juicy, rich and concentrated, showing plenty of snap to the crisp and well-spiced flavors of wild berry, dark currant and plum tart. Orange-infused chocolate notes linger on the exotic, mocha-filled finish. Best from 2020 through 2045.” Kim Marcus, September 2013
95 Points James Suckling
“Beautiful aromas of violets and blueberries with hints of blue slate. Full body, medium sweet with chewy tannins and a long, long finish. A leafy, stemmy, nutty undertone to this with hints of shaved milk chocolate. Very refined and beautiful.” May 2013.
95 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2011 Croft is initially taciturn on the nose, even after allowing it 20 minutes in my glass. A light swirling immediately awakens the aromatics to offer blackberry, Seville orange marmalade, blueberries and dried fig – complex and quite compelling. There is real mineralité within this bouquet that, returning after 30 minutes, offers alluring ocean spray scents rolling in off the ocean. The palate is medium-bodied with a velvety-smooth opening that belies the fine, structured tannins underneath. It clams up a little towards the finish, shuts the lid tight and consequently there is the sensation of less persistency here compared to the Taylor’s or Fonseca. But Croft has a knack of filling out with bottle age and becomes both gentle and generous with the passing years.” Neal Martin, Eroberparker.com,
Notes on Viticultural Year and Harvest
The winter preceding the 2011 harvest was cold and wet. The weather station at Croft’s Quinta da Roêda registered 496 mm of rainfall between 1st November and 31st March compared to a 30-year average of 358mm. The rain proved very beneficial, replenishing depleted ground water reserves and allowing a balanced ripening of the grapes during the hot dry summer which followed. Budburst occurred at the normal time towards the end of the third week of March and wet and relatively warm conditions in April encouraged vigorous growth. From early May conditions turned generally dry and remained so for most of the summer.
Only 12 mm of rain fell at Roêda in the months of May, June and July compared to a 30-year average of 105 mm. In spite of the arid conditions the vines were able to draw water from the ground reserves providing ideal conditions for balanced ripening of the grapes. The hot dry weather in August was broken at the ideal moment by two spells of rainfall, on 21st August and 1st September, which rounded off the ripening season and produced a balanced and evenly mature crop.
Picking began at Quinta da Roêda on 10th September in excellent harvesting conditions. Fermentation times were long, allowing for complete and even extraction, and the musts in the quinta’s lagares showed exceptionally intense colour and aroma.
94 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2007 Fonseca Vintage Port is opaque purple-colored with a high-class perfume of lavender, Asian spices, pencil lead, incense, and an amalgam of black fruits. On the palate it is voluminous with layered, succulent fruit, outstanding density, and excellent integration of tannin, acidity, and alcohol. The long finish and the wine’s impeccable balance suggest a lengthy evolution and a drinking window extending out to 2045.” (2/2010)
96 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“A limpid purple garnet core. The nose is quintessential Fonseca, like a riotous party reaching its crescendo in the glass. Macerated black cherries, eau-de-vie, damson, fig and a touch of Seville orange. Then what is fascinating is that the uproar dies down with aeration, becomes more focused…as if the host has asked everyone to quieten down. The palate is powerful and spicy on the entry, sweet ripe black berried fruits, a touch of spice, fig and apricot, lovely cohesion and weight building towards a deeply joyous finish that lacquers the mouth in port-like reverie. Perhaps more approachable than the 2000 or the 2003 at this stage, this is a marvellous Fonseca.” Neal Martin May 2009 – Score 96
94 Points Wine Spectator
“A subtle yet powerful young Vintage Port, with freshly sliced plum, citrus and mulberry on the nose. Full-bodied and medium sweet, with a solid core of powerful tannins and a long, balanced finish. So tight and reserved. Muscularly structured. Best after 2017.” (5/2010)
Fonseca Vintage Ports are released only when a year produces outstanding wines with long term ageing potential. These classic Vintage Ports are a blend of wines from Cruzeiro, Santo António and Panascal. Cruzeiro contributes concentrated black fruit flavours and firm tannic ‘grip’. Panascal adds an opulent luscious fruitiness and a dense velvety texture. Finally, Santo António brings complexity and vibrancy with its fine scented character and fresh acidity.
Although they can be enjoyed when young, Fonseca Vintage Ports will continue to improve in bottle for many decades. They have the stamina and aromatic potential to last for over a hundred years. Attracting the highest scores and auction prices, they are favoured not only by fine wine enthusiasts but also by collectors and investors.
A delight for any Port lover, these three ports come in a beautifully crafted wooden box from the outstanding 2007 vintage