A selection of Douro wines to enjoy this winter
16 December 2019

Três Bagos Grande Escolha Tinto, Douro DOC 2014, Lavradores de Feitoria

Três Bagos wines are emblematic of the Douro region. ‘Baga’ is the Portuguese word for berry, and the wines are made from three grape varieties, from three vineyards, across the Douro.

With Três Bagos, Lavradores de Feitoria’s winemaker Paulo Ruão showcases the complexity it is possible to achieve in the best Douro wines.

The Grande Escolha is a characteristic Douro field blend, made from vines over sixty years old. Vinification takes place in traditional granite ‘lagares’, with the wine aged for 14 months in French oak. The 2014 has intense notes of cassis, mint and blackberry, and an appealing finesse on the palate.

This powerful and elegant wine is ready for immediate drinking, although it will certainly continue to improve in the bottle.

Pintas Character Tinto, Douro DOC 2016, Wine & Soul

Sandra Tavares da Silva and Jorge Serodio Borges, owners and winemakers at Wine & Soul, have made field blends one of the hallmarks of their outstanding wines. Pintas Character Tinto is a field blend made from old vines and more than 30 different grape varieties. The grapes are foot trodden in stone lagares and the wine aged for 18 months in French oak. With notes of raspberry, black cherry and plums, this rich and powerful red, full of freshness and ripe fruit, offers a lingering velvety finish, with beautifully integrated tannins.

The 2016, already very enjoyable drinking, will reward you with a few additional years in the bottle.

Bastardo Tinto, Douro 2017, Conceito

An attractive red, made from 5 hectares of the early ripening Bastardo vine, planted 50 years ago in the Douro uplands by the grandfather of Conceito’s owner, Rita Marques. Foot trodden in granite lagares and aged for 10 months in stainless steel vats, this comparatively light wine for the Douro at 13% of alcohol has spicy aromas and a round, glycerine mouth, making it a perfect accompaniment for Asian foods.

The 2017 is already drinking well.

Charme, Douro DOC 2016, Niepoort

The aptly named Charme, is equally elegant and balanced: the trademark of Niepoort wines.

Charme is made in traditional stone lagares from a blend of mostly Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca grapes from very old vines in Vale de Mendiz on the banks of the Pinhão River, one of the Douro’s tributaries. With subtle notes of game and cherry, Charme is aged in old oak barrels, with light wood and delicate tannins.

The 2016 is already excellent drinking and shows promising ageing potential.

A tip for serving Port

Could there possibly be a better way to end your meal than with a glass of Port? Please remember Port is best served slightly chilled. The alcohol will be less apparent and the flavours more pronounced. Take care not to over chill though, as the wine will struggle to release its full panoply of aromas and flavours.

If in doubt as to your choice, why not go for a Croft 20-Year Old Tawny, a superb accompaniment for crumbles and cheesecakes or for a glorious Stilton cheese.