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Jewels of the wine world

75
Regular price: $46.75
See product page: Anselmo Mendes Curtimenta Alvarinho 2016
Vinho verde DOC
Alvarinho
Mention d'âge
White wine
Portugal, Vinho Verde
750 ml
SAQ code: 13787797

“The 2016 Curtimenta is 100% Alvarinho aged for nine months in used French oak. In 2015, its high-end sibling Parcela Única was the bigger star, if only by a bit. This year, it's pretty even, but the styles are radically different. This has greater purity and intensity, while its sibling has a lusher, richer feel. Curtimenta handles the wood far better (it usually does when young, and it receives less aggressive wood treatment), at least now. Whenever I thought the wood was becoming assertive, the acidity and fruit came right back up. The Parcela Única may be even deeper and more like a white Burgundy than a Vinho Verde. Choices, choices. Buy both! In time, the balance of both may change for the better as they pull in the wood even more. That's not as important with the Curtimenta, given less wood impact, but even the Curtimenta could benefit from a year in the cellar. Needless to say, they should age rather well (although Parcela Única edged into the lead on the third day after opening, making me doubt again which was better). It's a very different vision of Vinho Verde, showing what the region can do when its top producers perform at the top of their game.”
www.robertparker.com


Aging Potential : Drink now or keep until 2028


WA 94


(180 bt)

76
Regular price: $46.75
See product page: Anselmo Mendes Expressoes Alvarinho 2016
Vinho verde DOC
Alvarinho
White wine
Portugal, Vinho Verde
750 ml
SAQ code: 13787789

“The 2016 Expressões is an Alvarinho aged for nine months in used French oak. It comes in at 13% alcohol. This is a relatively new brand that I've found a little hard to peg in the line-up. I'm not quite sure what its identity is yet, or where it fits in. This is a very nice vintage for it though, perhaps its best. It seems to have the fruit and acidity to absorb the wood easily. The initial woody impression is countered immediately. The wood gives it a slightly sweet tinge, rather than a stern and dried-out demeanour. Then, the acidity and fruit do battle and often win. For an oaked wine, this becomes surprisingly transparent as it airs and warms. This is very well done. Sourced from Quinta da Torre, with 15- to 20-year-old vines, there were 3,000 bottles produced.”
www.robertparker.com


Aging Potential : Drink now or keep until 2026


WA 92


(180 bt)

77
Regular price: $55.00
See product page: Anselmo Mendes Parcela Única 2016
Vinho verde DOC
Alvarinho
White wine
Portugal, Vinho Verde
750 ml
SAQ code: 13787754

“The 2016 Parcela Única is an Alvarinho aged for nine months in new French oak. It comes in at 13% alcohol. There was a time when Mendes principally had this and the Curtimenta as their high-end and oaked alternatives. This is always a bit woodier, which hasn't always been to its advantage, but over the years, it's done a better job of handling it. And this year is no exception. The new wood gives it a toasty nuance, and the toasty oak stands out far more here than in its key competitor, the Curtimenta. Right now, Curtimenta shows far better. That's the usual demeanour of both of them. This seems more like a white Burgundy than Vinho Verde, while the Curtimenta still leans to Vinho Verde, if a very concentrated and powerful one. The Parcela Única has hints of surprising purity and concentration of fruit, plus fine acidity lifting the fruit and slicing the wood. The fruit is rich enough to make this even seem a little unctuous at times. It is probably the deepest and most powerful of Mendes' wines this year, but it simply has not come together yet.”
www.robertparker.com


Aging Potential : Drink during the indicated period of maturity 2020-2028


WA 94


(300 bt)

78
Regular price: $50.50
See product page: Niepoort Poeirinho 2015
Bairrada DOC
Baga
Red wine
Portugal, Bairrada
750 ml
SAQ code: 13787842

“The 2015 Poeirinho is another terrific Baga from Niepoort this issue. His Baga wines have become my favourites in his red line-up across many regions. It was aged for 20 months in used 2,000-liter foudres and comes in at just 11.4% alcohol. This (well, with the Alagoa, although that at least seemed more open when first poured, before it shut down) is the most backward of the red Bairrada group, rather tight, a bit rustic and a little mute, needing some time to open up. That said, the fruit flavour is there in the background and it has the precision and focus of the others, with a serious backbone. This requires some patience—five years might not be nearly enough; ten would be better—and it should age exceptionally well, if well stored and sourced, of course. Eventually, this might be the best of the Niepoort reds this issue, although the Vinha da Alagoa will have some say there, but it doesn't show that way now. It still looks like a big star.”
www.robertparker.com


Aging Potential : Drink during the indicated period of maturity 2022-2032


WA 95


(450 bt)

79
Regular price: $55.75
See product page: Quinta da Falorca Lagar Reserva 2014
Dâo DOC
Alfrocheiro, Tinta roriz, Touriga nacional
Red wine
Portugal, Dâo E Lafôes
750 ml
SAQ code: 13761491

Aging Potential : Drink now or keep until 2026


(600 bt)

80
Regular price: $370.75
See product page: Casa Ferreirinha Barca Velha 2008
Douro DOC
Tinto(a) Cão, Tinta roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga nacional
Red wine
Portugal, Porto/Douro
750 ml
SAQ code: 13734708
  • Drink now.

“The 2008 Barca Velha, the latest vintage of this late-released wine, is a blend of 50% Touriga Franca, 30% Touriga Nacional, 10% Tinta Roriz and 10% Tinto Cão. This is a classic 2008, crisp and elegant, radically different this year than the richer 2007 Reserva Especial (basically the same wine but for designation—that could've been designated as Barca Velha, too). After being opened about 18 hours prior, this showed rather well, but you may not find it quite as approachable if you don't give it some air. When you do approach it, be prepared to take more than a taste. It is easy to underestimate. Graceful in the mid-palate, with lifted fruit on the finish, its most notable feature is its finesse. It is a classic 2008 in that regard—dripping with grace, showing fine structure and impeccable balance. It seems simply effortless. Not particularly expressive or fruity in its youth, this tightens a bit as it airs out. The structure will allow it to age, although the mid-palate concentration is not nearly as impressive. As a typical 2008, that is to be expected to a considerable extent—this vintage never made its bones by mid-palate fleshiness or richness. Call it a Burgundy lover's vintage in Douro. On its own terms, this is pretty fine. Still a touch closed, this understated Barca Velha has considerable potential for improvement in the cellar. I'm still not sure if it will have quite the aging curve that these wines ordinarily do, but they all hold rather well.”
www.robertparker.com


Aging Potential : Drink now or keep until 2032


WA 95, WS 94


(24 bt)

81
Regular price: $57.00
See product page: Conceito Douro 2015
Douro DOC
Tinta barroca, Tinta roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga nacional
Red wine
Portugal, Porto/Douro
750 ml
SAQ code: 13787746

“The 2015 Estate Tinto is a field blend from old vines (90 years or so) at 450 metres in altitude. It was aged for 22 months in French oak (50% new, 50% second use). This was seen before but only as a tank sample. This is the first look in the U.S. and in bottle. It opens with powerful aromatics and seems simply sumptuous, thanks to its purity of fruit. Wonderfully elegant, this precise Tinto is not the biggest red ever, but it holds its own in persistence on the finish and delivers that fine fruit flavour. It has that "old school" feeling of refinement, sophistication and subtlety. It maintains flavour and structure while seeming ethereal and fresh in the mouth. It integrates its wood far better than the Único just now, but both are a little closed. From what I saw in Porto over the summer, they will both do better with a few years in the cellar to allow them to pull in the wood better. This was notably better when tasted the next day. It will be more interesting around 2020–2023. At this point, if you open it now, give it some air—there's a real backbone here, too—but this is probably a bit closer to ready than the Único. They should both age very well, perhaps better than indicated.”
www.robertparker.com


Aging Potential : Drink now or keep until 2028


WA 95


(300 bt)

82
Regular price: $97.00
See product page: Domingos Alves de Sousa Abandonado 2013
Douro DOC
Sousao (portuguais), Tinta amarela, Touriga nacional
Red wine
Portugal, Porto/Douro
750 ml
SAQ code: 13761597

“The 2013 Abandonado is a field blend aged for 18 months in a mixture of new French and Portuguese oak. It comes in at 14.5% alcohol. Sourced from a plot over 80 years old, this seems like a fine performance in a tricky vintage. Admittedly, its fruit does not show the personality that some other years have had. It is just not as expressive—Abandonado is often rather distinctive. It is still laced with strawberry-tinged herbs on the finish and it is rather tasty. More importantly, it adds a fresh, open feel, avoiding jamminess and overripe fruit. The tannins are moderate. This should still improve with some cellaring, pulling in a bit of oak and moderating the tannins even more while acquiring complexity. Of the winery's three red offerings this issue, this will have its share of picks for #1, given its crisp feel and less obvious oak than the Gaivosa (although I do think the gorgeous Gaivosa is better). They both have a refined style overall. This is a beauty with room to improve, but it is just a bit compact in this difficult year. It still showed fine grip the next day when tasted again, though. It is no slacker. It will be interesting to see how it ages. This may yet become more intriguing. It is an understated Abandonado, but it shows well and you will find yourself wanting another glass.”
www.robertparker.com


Aging Potential : Drink now or keep until 2030


WA 93


(120 bt)

83
Regular price: $92.50
See product page: Niepoort Batuta 2015
Douro DOC
Rufete (Tinta Pinheira), Tinta roriz, Touriga Franca, Malvasia Petra
Red wine
Portugal, Porto/Douro
750 ml
SAQ code: 13787877

“The 2015 Batuta is a field blend from old vines, with lots of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Rufete and others, aged in 20% new French barrels for 20 months. It comes in at just 12.5% alcohol. This may be my favourite Batuta in a long time. Now, this is always an elegantly crafted wine, always understated (often to a fault). This year, though, it has a particularly nice combination of freshness, grip and ripe tannins that make it very appealing. Then, it adds that gorgeous intensity of fruit flavour that this vintage produced, perfectly supported and defined by the acidity that slams the fruit into the palate. There is also very respectable weight (relative to this usually understated bottling and the elegant vintage). It then finishes tight and grabs the palate. Overall, this deserves some props and plenty of them. It should age beautifully. It is also a vintage that is approachable young, but it will certainly be better in 2020 or so, assuming you can keep your hands off of it. It is very tasty now, if a bit tight. We'll see what the future brings, but I have to lean up on this beauty right now. This was not bottled when seen, but it was a tank sample, out of barrel and the final blend.”
www.robertparker.com


Aging Potential : Drink now or keep until 2032


WA 94-96


(270 bt)

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