Ready or not?
A couple of weeks ago, the highly-respected UK wine writer and Master of Wine Jancis Robinson dedicated her FT Weekend column to the subject of approachability of premium reds, most of which are released onto the market far too young to be truly appreciated. She went as far as to say that the mid-range offerings from some leading Bordeaux producers were actually better to drink after just a few years in the bottle than the premium wines. Her argument is that the premium wines obviously need far longer, due to higher concentration, higher alcohol and prolonged ageing in new oak.
The wine I am writing about this week, Quinta Nova Reserva Terroir Blend 2015, is not actually a premium wine. Priced at €18.95 at Apolónia, it costs less than half the price of premium Douro reds from this and other producers. But it is a high-quality wine from a top producer famed mostly for their excellent Ports.
Last year I wrote here about the Quinta Nova Rosé, one of the best Portuguese rosés I have tried, and I had high hopes for this red which is a new arrival at Apolónia. But what we have here is a wine made in 2015 that I found to be far from ready. There is great concentration and understandably high alcohol content at 14% and it is clear to see that this is a premium wine in all but price, with intense jammy berry fruit on the nose mingling with well-integrated oak. So far so good, but in the mouth the tannins seem raw and aggressive, needing nothing more than a few more years in the bottle to make this a truly excellent Douro red, without the premium price tag.
By Patrick Stuart