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Quinta do Crasto Douro Red Reserva Old Vines 2009
Brick red in color with intense and lifted complex aromas of spices and wild Douro bush (Esteva) combined with fresh red wild berries. Great complexity. The mouthfeel is impressive and elegant upfront, developing to a rich, full and round palate, of great balance. This wine displays rich Douro berry fruit characteristics with integrated oak tannins and great length on the finish.
Old vines in this case means an average of 70 years, from a vineyard that is a mix of different varieties. The result is impressive, very floral with sweet black fruit, licorice and the ripest of tannins. Age this wine for 5-6 years. Cellar Selection.
The 2009 Reserva "Old Vines" is a Douro stalwart that has crept up in price over the last several years, but in fairness – it was cheaper in the USA than in Portugal for the most part and it competes well with Crasto's higher priced entrants in most years. So, too, this year. Once again, I look at this and it seems equal or superior to more expensive wines, particularly including Crasto's. So, it's hard to complain. Powerful, focused and intense, this is ripe and delicious, but it has the structure to support the fruit and oak and some pretty good acidity. If you like them sexy, sweet and rich, this qualifies. If you like them elegant in the mid-palate and structured, it does that, too. It did calm down with air, even if it is burlier than usual, certainly a very different wine than the more compact, elegant, but utterly charming 2008 that I loved. While not as big on the "wow" factor as some of the so-called upper level wines, it's probably Crasto's best and best balanced upper level wine this year, not completely immune to impressions of alcohol, but handling it very well and combining a lot of virtues successfully. This is not really in a great place now – two to three years in the cellar could help a lot. Drink 2014-2023.
Rich, fruity and lush, delivering well-defined plum and cherry flavors that are filled with plenty of cream and spice notes. A molten chocolate accent marks the finish. Drink now through 2017.
One of the most iconic regions of Italy for wine, scenery, and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simply to complex and age-worthy, as well as in price from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano trailing far behind. Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines are produced in their respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Bolgheri, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, with the hillside locations hosting the best vines, as Sangiovese ripens most efficiently with maximum exposure to sunlight.
Sangiovese at its simplest, often carrying a regional designation of Chianti or just Italy, produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright red fruit and not much more, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity. In top-quality Sangiovese-based wines, expressive notes of sour cherry, balsamic vinegar, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise, tobacco smoke, and cured meat fill the glass. Brunello in particular is sensitive to vintage variation, performing best in years that are not too hot and not too cold. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Syrah, often grown in Tuscany’s Bolgheri region, with or without Sangiovese. These tend to be big, bold, and modern in style, often with noticeable new oak, and sold at super-premium prices.