A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 567: Douro Boys


Tony and the Boys

Monday, October 12th: Wrote my 680 NEWS wine reviews and finished writing a profile of winemaker Frédéric Picard for Grapevine magazine. Tasted a couple of wines from Joie Farm in BC.

  • Joie PTG 2013: this passe-tout-grains, a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, is deep ruby in colour with a nose of cherries and oak spice; dry, light-bodied but firmly structured with a lively acidic spine. (89)
  • Joie Gamay 2013: ruby colour; lifted cherry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry; a deceptively simple wine, strawberry and cherry flavours with a pencil lead note; again, lively acidity. (89)

In the evening Deborah and I dropped into a neighbour’s for a drink. Brought along a bottle of Château Teyssier Montagne Saint-Emilion 2010 (dense purple-ruby colour with a nose of cedar and blackcurrant; medium-bodied, dry, savoury and elegant. A well-balanced claret (89)).

Tuesday, October 13th: Finished inputting the reviews of wines for the October 17th Vintages release. At 2:30 pm down to the University Club for a tasting to the Douro Boys wines. All five members of the group were there showing their table wines as well as a port.


Christian Van Zeller of Quinta Vale D. Maria

I was very impressed by the white wines:

  • Quinta do Vale Meão Meandro 2014 (Rabigato and Arinto): pale straw, minerally white peach and citrus nose with a floral top note; medium-bodied, dry, white peach and lemon flavours carried on vibrant acidity. (89)
  • Quinta do Vallado Reserva Branca 2014 (Gouveio, Rabigato, Arinto, Viosinho): minerally, floral, almond and peach pit nose; fresh and lemony flavour, lively acidity with a touch of oak. (90)
  • Quinta Vale D. Maria Rufo 2014: minerally, nutty, leesy nose of peaches with a floral top note; flavours of passionfruit and green plum with a touch of bitterness on the finish. (89+)
  • Quinta do Crasto Superior White 2014 (Verdelho, Codega de Lourinha, Viosinho and Rabigato): pale straw colour; vanilla oak and white peach nose; full in the mouth, dry and refreshing with a long lemony finish. (90)
  • Niepoort Coche 2013 (Rabigato, Códega do Larinho, Arinto and others): straw coloured with a smoky, toasty nose reminiscent of Meursault. Very Burgundian in style, elegant, perfectly balanced oak with a thread of minerality. (93)
  • Niepoort Redoma 2014 (Rabigato, Códega, Viosinho, Arinto and others): pale straw colour with a minerally, smoky nose lifted by white blossom notes; full-bodied, crisp white peach flavour, great mouth feel and judicious use of oak. (90)


Dirk Niepoort with his exemplary Coche 2013

My favourites among the reds:

  • Quinta do Vale Meão Douro 2012: dense purple colour; oaky, well extracted mulberry flavours; stull tight needs five years or so. (90–92)
  • Quinta Vale D. Maria 2012: an elegant wine with black fruit aromas and flavours topped with a rose petal note; firmly structured. (91)
  • Niepoort Charme 2013: developing barnyard notes on the nose; earthy black cherry flavour, lovely mouth feel with driving acidity. (91)
  • Quinta do Crasto Vinha da Ponte 2012: dense ruby colour; spicy, oaky, mulberry nose with a floral grace note; rich flavours of mulberry and black cherry; tightly woven and needs 3–5 years. (90–92)
  • Quinta do Vallado Reserva 2012: richly extracted black cherry and dark chocolate flavours; full in the mouth. (90)

Quinta do Vale Meão Douro 2012

My favourite ports of the night were:

  • Quinta do Vallado 20 Year Tawny: rich walnut and dried fig flavours, beautifully balanced with amazing length. (93)
  • Quinta do Vale Meão Vintage Port 2013 (one of the few port houses who declared that year): lighter than their usual ports, spicy, mulberry flavour, very elegant. (92–94)

After the tasting I came back to the University Club for a dinner for members of the club and clients of FWP, who represent three of the winemakers. The Douro Boys had generously donated blended magnums of their 2011 wines for a Grapes for Humanity auction. The five lots included visits to the property with tastings and dinners. We raised close to $6,000 which will go towards building a secondary school for Access Education Guatemala. A very successful evening.


Menu for the Douro Boys dinner at the University Club

Wednesday, October 15th: Recorded my 680 NEWS wine reviews and began to clear my desk before I leave tomorrow for Champagne and Burgundy with a group of 11 wine lovers. In the evening I conducted a tasting at Hola Tapas Bar and Restaurant, 1298 Queen Street East. It was the night of the fifth game of the playoffs and there was a TV on behind as I began the tasting. The 30 people erupted when Batista hit his winning homer and flipped his bat. The wines tasted:

  • Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
  • Finca Las Caraballas Verdejo 2013 (Castilla y Leon)
  • AA Privat Pansa Blanca 2014 (Catalunya)
  • Pazo des Bruxas Albarino 2013 (Rias Baixas)
  • Bodegas Langa Hnos Chapillon Siendra 2011 (Calatayud)
  • Bodegas Balbas Ardal Crianza 2005 (Ribera del Duero)
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