After taking the train from Porto (Sao Bento station) and riding for most of the journey along the banks of the Douro to the town of Pinhao, we were greeted by some friends who know the Douro Valley well and had arranged several cellar visits for us.
Our first stop was Quinta do Portal
A winery located at 500-800 mt altitude. They presently have 115 hectars (spread out over 4 farms) and they are looking to max out at 200 ha. They also buy grapes from other sources. This is a big operation.
The dry wines were rather disappointing and ordinary:
Quinta do Portal Douro Branco 2007 White dry Douro wine from Viosinho, Malvasia Fina and Moscatel grapes. The nose was fatty, syrupy and floral. The mouth was peach pit dominated in aroma but could have been a white from anywhere in the world.
Quinta do Portal Rosé 2007 From Touriga Nacional (aprox 50%), Tinta Roriz and Franca grape varieties. Saigné rosé. The nose was meaty cherries (a hint of reduction). I did not like the mouth because it was a little heavy and had some obvious RS (residual sugar).
Quinta do Portal Tinto Grande Riserva 2003: Dry Red. Mainly from Touriga Nacional grapes. Tar and smoke in the nose. Long mouth aromas with some gaminess (and a little bit of hardness, from aggressive bottling?)
The ports were OK, but over all seemed to lack harmony of truly great wine on a great terroir.
Porto Extra Dry Branco This wine is raised for 1,5 years in stainless steel. The nose has some raw walnuts and peach pits. The mouth is dry in the finish but a little heavy (would have benifited from a cooler temperature of service).
Portal Porto Branco Lagrima NV Aging for 3-4 years of which some is wood (small barrels) Great fresh and floral nose with some fresh raw nuts. The mouth has lots of energy with spice, salt and pepper.
Portal Tawny 10 years The nose has cooked red fruits with orange rind and spice. The mouth is fairly aggressive feel with cooked black pepper as the dominating flavor.
Portal Ruby Cellar Reserve 4-6 year old barrels. Rough and tumble tannins, half hidden by spice. Seems unripe.
Portal Late Bottled Vintage 2003 has a smoky nose Late bottled means that it has to be raised for 4-6 years in barrel before being bottled. The barrels are 32 000 lt barrels (huge!)
The 2 Moscatel wines were very good and much more what I had expected as a taste experience.
Portal Moscatel Douro NV Blend of several vintages. Much more complexity and nobility here. Dry walnuts and some spicy minerality that I would expect from the Schist-domintated terroir of the Douro.
Portal Moscatel Riserva 1996 A spicy blood orange and cinnamon nose. Mouth is great spice, cinnamon and almond dust.