A monthly review of an easily obtainable wine that’s had a recommendation somewhere in a National newspaper. Always posted just before the usual monthly theme, this may be the latest post for only a few days…

“La Rosa” Douro Valley Reserva 2010 (Quinta de la Rosa) – 13.5% – Waitrose £11.50

As the first signs of Spring are starting to appear our tasting this month will be of white wines. However as I suspect Winter probably hasn’t completely done with us yet, I thought a big warm red to have ready wouldn’t be a bad thing. So I’ve looked to Portugal for this month’s trial!

This Douro wine is made from typical Port grapes: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (a Portuguese name for Tempranillo) and Touriga Franca.

The nose is spirity, and shows some wood, expressed as a caramel note, together with black cherry and plums and a chocolate hint.

The palate shows very dark fruit, damsons or prunes, with a sweet attack framed by a sour plum acidity lasting right through the palate. The tannins have a warm peppery twist, a grainy quality and also push through to the slightly bitter chocolate finish.

There is a set of big flavours in this wine, lifted by the acidity and the bitter twist of the tannins.
Later the wines shows floral notes (violets or lilies?) and the wood/caramel note recedes. Underneath this the flavours take on port notes (not surprisingly) and are better integrated. The palate holds up with time and prunes and bitter-sweet chocolate are more prominent and integrated, in a balance a bit like Amarone. With food (olive Pizza) the bitter note is neutralized and the plum schnaaps, spirit note comes to the fore.

All in all: a big well-made wine with a bitter twist and balancing acidity. It would be improved with a couple of years in the cellar, or decanting, and serving with bigger flavoured food. So although it may not serve for that last chill of this season, it might do next…

Happy equinox!

Quality: 15/20   –    Value: 16/20

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