Quinta do Crasto Douro Superior Red 2015
Nestled on a privileged location in the Douro, Quinta do Crasto is one of the oldest winemaking estates in the region – the name ‘Crasto’ is derived from the Latin word ‘castrum’, which means ‘Roman fort’. The first known references to Quinta do Crasto can be traced back to 1615, long before the Douro became the world’s first Demarcated Wine Region in 1756. In the early 1900s, Quinta do Crasto was purchased by Constantino de Almeida, the founder of the famous Constantino Port house. Today, his granddaughter, Leonor Roquette, and her husband Jorge Roquette own and manage the estate, together with their sons, Miguel and Tomás. The Roquette family has invested tremendous time, attention, and resources to rebuild and expand the vineyards and facilities to produce top quality Port and Douro table wines. Vineyard mapping, DNA-matched replanting, a new state-of-the-art wine cellar and centuries of tradition mean that no detail in the winemaking and vineyard management is overlooked.
Quinta do Crasto produces different styles of port and table wines each year. Together with their winemakers and their entire team, they seek to produce year after year wines that display the unique and beautiful characteristics of the Douro, through a tireless devotion to tradition, integrity and excellence.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Duoro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.