An improbable Douro red

The attractive label of this recently arrived red on the shelves at Apolónia caught my eye, showing a hunting scene of dogs and a wild boar. So, I would assume that the producer considers this to be a wine suitable to drink with strongly-flavoured game dishes.

The name in Portuguese, “Vinhas Improváveis”, refers only to the fact that the vines are young, the first harvest having been in 2014 and, thereby, it would be improbable for the grapes to produce a wine of such high quality.

The grape blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz is fairly standard for the Douro, but what I found most unusual about it is the almost overpowering presence of oak on the nose. On the rear label, the producer mentions vibrant black fruit and a “touch of oak”, which I find to be a major understatement.

What we have here is a big and powerful Douro red and it does indeed display vibrant and rich dark fruit notes, but this is a wine only for those who appreciate very heavily oaked reds. I expect that this 2018 vintage, still being very young for a wine of such body and structure, will soften with time and maybe the oak will balance out after a few more years of bottle-ageing. €17.95 at Apolónia.

patrick.stuart@open-media.net