Those of us who love our wine are increasingly faced with a dilemma in this day and age. Red wines, in mass retail and on the wine lists of everyday restaurants, are being drunk too young.
The use of flavour enhancers and other additives make such wines more palatable but, personally, I avoid drinking any red wine that has spent less than two years in the bottle. In general, the youngest reds I will actually buy for my own drinking pleasure are currently 2016s.
However, browsing the shelves of even the best wine retailers, it is not easy to find wines that are well and truly ready to drink, outside of the higher-priced premium bottles found on the top shelves. And so, I was very pleased and curious to see this new arrival at Apolónia last weekend from CARM (Casa Agrícola Roboredo Madeira), a high-quality producer in the upper reaches of the Douro valley (they also make excellent olive oils by the way).
CARM is a certified organic producer making good wines in all price ranges and it would appear that this 2010 vintage, labelled “Tito”, has been held back and released at the respectable age of 10 years. There is no information on the rear label to confirm this, or indeed what the grape varieties are or why it is called “Tito”. What’s more, the wine does not even feature on the producer’s website. But I took a bottle home (€14.95) and was very impressed.
My guess would be that it is a field blend of Douro grapes as no single variety was noticeable. On the nose, there are notes of ripe plums and a hint of spice from very well integrated oak. Silky smooth and fresh in the mouth, this is an elegant wine, a little lighter in body than most Douro reds, representing excellent value for money.