Rola Reserva branco

This label and most attractively-shaped bottle is a fairly recent arrival to the market. I first saw it on sale here in the Algarve last year and tried the non-reserva white at a local restaurant. This is a good-value-for-money, honest and well-made Douro white priced at €7.99 in Apolónia.

But it was not until last week when the range of wines from this producer was offered at a tasting at Apolónia Lagoa that I tried the white Reserva shown here. I also tried the reds, both reserva and non-reserva, the former from the 2014 vintage and the latter from 2015.

The reds are well-made wines with good structure and plenty of upfront fruit but both need a few more years in the bottle to be fully appreciated. The 2015, in my opinion, should not have been released yet and I would also have preferred to have seen the 2014 Reserva held back for at least another year or two. It is a shame how so many Portuguese producers these days are bringing their reds to the market too early.

But the whites are a different story. Both are made from a typical blend of white Douro grapes and the non-reserva is great to drink; young, zesty and fresh with good body. Whilst the 2014 Reserva, with well integrated oak and quite some complexity, priced at €12.95 in Apolónia, is already drinking well and very good value for a Douro white of this quality. [email protected]

By Patrick Stuart