Posted on 11th January 2017 by JN Wine
Long famous as the source of sweet port wine, the Douro Valley in Northern Portugal, is now also renowned for its fine, rich unfortified wines, both red and white. Port wine in the traditional sense of the word may be viewed as the most seasonal of festive drinks, but the enjoyment does not need to be curtailed only to the festive months. Consumers are now turning their focus to the bountiful offerings this rugged landscape offers, in the form of unfortified, uniquely satisfying and dry, red wine.
The Douro is one of the wildest, most precipitous and rugged wine regions of Portugal, cut through in deep twists and turns by the River Douro, of the same name. Between viciously cold winters and baking summers, sometimes without a single drop of rain from June to September, it is a wonder that plant life can exist here at all, let alone thrive. Defying gravity on the steep slopes along the banks of the river and its tributaries, the deep-rooted vines are planted in poor, slate soils often on painstakingly constructed terraces. These soils combined with use of naturally low yielding native and indigenous grape varieties allow the essence of the Douro to be conveyed through the medium of wine.
This is certainly the case with the Quinta de la Rosa 2014; a wine which speaks of the landscape by which it was created. A landscape so spectacular that has in its entirety, been awarded UNESCO world heritage status.
Quinta de la Rosa tinto is assembled from traditional port grape varieties, mainly Touriga Nacional (60%) and Touriga Franca (12%) with 8% Tinta Roriz, 5% Sousão and the rest (5%) come from old an vineyard, mixed field blend. The grapes come from the Lamelas vineyard planted by Tim Bergqvist more than 30 years ago. These native grapes, many of which are unseen outside of the Douro combine to make this bold, lush and characterful wine.
The nuances of the La Rosa 2014 could be described as lots of deep, luscious black fruit, bramble, finishing with dark chocolate aromas. On the palate the wine is dense, deep, profound and well-structured with great freshness, vibrancy and acidity. The tannins are present yet not unyielding. The wine can be drunk now but is still young and will age well in the next decade… if indeed it survives the night.
This is a wine that would fall into the “food wine” category. By this it could be said that without food, many drinkers might find its intensity a tad alarming/beguiling. Food does not need to be in the form of a meat focused banquet; merely some hard cheese (perhaps Manchego or the locally produced Terrincho) will bring balance to the force.