This wine, one of a selection of very good Portuguese wines enjoyed with my Christmas dinner last week, was unexpectedly the one that most impressed me. I say this as the wine in question is a Douro and I am more of a Dão and Bairrada fan, but then of course I appreciate that the very best wines in Portugal do tend to come from the Douro.
This is one of the premium reds from Quinta da Pacheca, one of the most respected Douro producers whose claim to fame is having been the first quinta to bottle wine under its own name, back in 1738.
Lagar Nº1, named after the Nº1 granite vat (lagar) at the winery, is made from a blend of Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional grapes, foot trodden and fermented in the stone vat before transferring to new French oak for 18 months of ageing, followed by at least another year of bottle ageing in the cellars.
The 2015, in spite of its relative youth, is already drinking very well. My first impression when tasting this wine was to be pleasantly surprised by the medium body and elegant texture, quite unlike most of the premium Douro reds that are, by nature, powerful and full-bodied wines.
On the nose, there are ripe black fruits with hints of chocolate from extremely well integrated oak, followed by a delightful freshness and depth of flavour in the mouth with smooth well-rounded tannins and a long, dry finish. Outstanding. €36.95 at Apolónia.
By Patrick Stuart