2017 was the second driest year in the Douro and easily the hottest of the last four decades. For the vines vegetative cycle, between March and September, the cumulative rainfall deficit averaged 50%. The dry, mild winter was followed by the three crucial spring months - March, April and May - that were cumulatively 4.7°F warmer than average. The lack of rain notwithstanding, the regional grape varieties responded with characteristic resilience, adjusting early on to the exceptionally dry conditions that prevailed from the outset of the year. Unsurprisingly, the precocity of the year's vegetative cycle resulted in the earliest vintage ever recorded; picking starting on the 28th of August with Tinta Roriz in both Quinta de Roriz and Quinta de Perdiz, and finished on the 18th of September in Roriz and the 20th in Perdiz, with the Touriga Franca and some Touriga Nacional. Fortunately, the heat abated a little during September, especially nocturnal temperatures, which created a beneficial situation reflected in the high quality of the grapes received in the wineries. The outcome of the vintage surpassed all expectations.
The second wine of a pair created by the Symington family and French winemaker Bruno Prats, the wine is structured, rich while also elegant. Spices and tannins combine with acidity to produce a powerful wine, solid with black fruits and ready to age.
This is not much bigger than the Prazo (also reviewed) this year in most respects, but it shows more finesse and freshness. There is more power as well and a far longer finish. Most of all, though, this has lift to the fruit. This is simply a more sophisticated wine.
A sinewy red, featuring raspberry tart and cherry flavors, edged with violet, orange zest and licorice details that are focused by fresh acidity, sailing through the mineral and baking spice notes on the finish. Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca.