Pôpa TR 2011

A great varietal from a great vintage

Anyone who loves Douro wine, Port included, knows that 2011 was a very special vintage. It is getting harder and harder to find 2011 Douro’s on the shelves these days and, when found, they usually carry hefty price tags.

Wine Spectator gives 2011 a rating of 97 for Douro reds, the highest this decade by far and, most experts would agree, the best for a very long time. “A cooler-than-normal summer, followed by warm, dry harvest weather, produced powerful, structured reds” to quote Wine Spectator.

So, we know to look out for 2011 and this does not apply just to the Douro. It was also an excellent year elsewhere in northern Portugal.

This wine caught my eye in Apolónia last week, not only as a 2011 but also as a varietal made from the Tinta Roriz grape (known as Aragonez down south and as Tempranillo across the border in Spain).

Only a few Douro producers make a varietal from this grape as it is an essential part of the blend for most reds made in the region, lending elegance to the more robust wine resulting from Touriga Nacional and other varieties.

This is no everyday wine, costing just shy of €30, but it is a special red from a great vintage that is well worth the money.

When looking for a nice red to pair with Turkey at the Christmas table, I would normally opt for something lighter than a Douro, my first choice being a nice Pinot Noir. But this wine has an elegance and freshness that make it very versatile food-wise and it would work extremely well with a Christmas roast.

On the nose there are mature forest fruits and not a hint of oak. It was only aged for eight months in used French barrels, so the oak is all but unnoticeable. In the mouth, there are silky tannins and an intense depth of flavour, a dry finish and great persistence.

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