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Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
independent
analytical
non-commercial
Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.
SOME REMARKABLE AND REMARKABLY AFFORDABLE PORTUGUESE WINES,  AMONGST OTHERS …




Reflections on the Tasting ...

This batch of wines was assembled for a quite different reason to the outcome.  In calibrating wines for review notes,  provided the formatting is strictly blind,  and the tasting protocols rigorous,  it does not greatly matter if the wines are of different style.  It is helpful however if some are the same weight.  Pinot noir for example is not so good for calibrating cabernet sauvignon,  yet the concepts of beauty and complexity in wine still apply,  as well as nett satisfaction.  Once I started on the wines,  they piqued my curiosity because of the diversity of styles included.  I could not wait to reach the un-veiling stage.  In particular,  some of the Portuguese wines were beautifully fragrant and ripe,  but then for some there seemed to be a gilding of the lily via subtle,  or not so subtle,  use of residual sugar to the finish,  as well.  I agonised a good deal as to the extent the purist desire for dry red wines should influence my ratings.  Also,  at the very affordable price of some of these wines,  and their lack of extended elevation in oak,  I became intrigued as to whether these fragrant rich wines would cellar well.  

But then I reflected that many Cotes-du-Rhones wines are raised solely in concrete,  and in specific contradiction to the short-sighted consumerist views of the majority of American winewriters,  good examples of that winestyle keep for decades.  In the end at $13 - $16 per bottle,  I decided that I should buy some,  and see for myself how they cellar.  The importing firm till last week had a six-pack offering one of each for a nett $13.82 per bottle,  and they were freight-free.  They can also be bought singly,  again with a discount for multiples of six,  and freight-free.  Some will be concerned that for cellaring,  those that are cork-closed have corks only 38mm long.  Yet only last weekend,  for a change I opened a 1972 Nobilo Private Bin Dry Red.  It too had a 38mm cork … but a particularly good one.  Both ullage and condition of the wine were near-perfect.  Like the Nobilo,  these Portuguese wines are not made for 46 years cellaring,  so one may conclude that the shorter cork length is not so serious.





THE WINES REVIEWED:

White
Sparkling
Chardonnay
Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and related blends
Riesling
Pinot Gris
Gewurztraminer
Viognier
Sweet / Sticky
All other white wines, blends, etc.
Red
Rosé
Cabernet, Merlot, and related blends
2008  Cousino-Macul Merlot Antiguas Reserva
2014  Craggy Range [ Me / CS / CFP/ PV ] Sophia
2013  Jim Barry Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra The Veto
2013  Villa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot Reserve
2014  Villa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon Ngakirikiri The Gravels
2013  Villa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon Ngakirikiri The Gravels
 Cabernet / Shiraz
Pinot Noir
2017  Escarpment 'Noir' Pinot Noir Artisan
2013  Greywacke Pinot Noir
2015  Neudorf Pinot Noir Moutere
Syrah = Shiraz
2014  Casas del Bosque Syrah Gran Reserva
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre & related blends
2015  Domaine de Fondreche Ventoux
2015  Domaine de Fondreche Ventoux Il Etait Une Fois
2012  Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone
All other red wines, blends etc
2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Fortissimo
2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Lab
2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Monte das Promessas
2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Portuga
2014  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Tarambola
2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Vale Perdido
From the Cellar. Older wines.


Red
Cabernet, Merlot, and related blends
2013  Villa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon Ngakirikiri The Gravels   19 +  ()
Gimblett Gravels,  Hawkes Bay,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $150   [ screwcap;  CS 97%,  Me 3,  62%;  18 months in French oak c.52% new;  www.villamaria.co.nz ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  the second deepest wine,  a classic and glorious youthful claret colour.  Bouquet is clearly the most fragrant,  sophisticated,  and subtle in the set,  yet at the same time rich and voluminous.  There are top notes of violets and related florals,  on intense cassisy berry of perfect aromatic ripeness,  all shaped by cedary oak.  Palate follows harmoniously,  fruit richness of tactile quality dominating the oak,  showing great length of flavour yet no hint of heaviness.  Notwithstanding the youth of the wine,  the alcohol balance is subtle and tender in mouth,  and there is no harshness of added tartaric.  This is glorious temperate-climate cabernet of international quality,  to cellar for 20 – 30 years.  It will still be the lovely if frail drinking in 50 years.  GK 03/18

2013  Villa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot Reserve   19  ()
Gimblett Gravels,  Hawkes Bay,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $50   [ screwcap;  CS 75%,  Me 25,  from c.14-year old vines planted at 3,125 vines / ha;  18 months in French oak c.30% new;  www.villamaria.co.nz ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  another ‘perfect’ young claret colour,  the fourth deepest.  At five years of age,  these top Hawkes Bay / NZ reds are just starting to blossom.  The complexity of bouquet,  its subtlety,  and its precise bordeaux styling with fruit ahead of oak,  are all glorious.  Like 2013 Ngakirikiri,  there is clear-cut cassis,  but the soft floral component here is greater,  reflecting the merlot content.  Flavours in mouth are still taut and youthful,  oak showing a little more now,  seemingly not quite as rich as Ngakirikiri.  This too is wonderful wine,  to cellar 15 – 25 years,  though it will hold longer.  GK 03/18

2014  Craggy Range [ Me / CS / CFP/ PV ] Sophia   18 ½  ()
Gimblett Gravels,  Hawkes Bay,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $93   [ 49mm cork;  Me 61%,  CS 20,  CF 19,  vines cropped @ 6.25 t/ha = 2.5 t/ac;  19 months in French oak c.42% new;  www.craggyrange.com ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  again a good claret colour,  lighter than the top three,  above midway in depth.  This wine has a distinctive very fragrant bouquet,  with a clear aromatic component hinting at balsam,  on cassisy and darkly plummy rich berry.  Palate shows lovely ripe supple fruit,  not quite as rich as the top wines,  so the oak is showing slightly more,  but again the whole wine totally international in calibre and flavour.  It should cellar for 10 – 20 years,  and hold longer.  GK 03/18

2013  Jim Barry Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra The Veto   17 ½ +  ()
Coonawarra,  South Australia,  Australia:  14%;  $34   [ screwcap;  CS 100%;  French oak,  9 months only;  www.jimbarry.com ]
Ruby and velvet,  less freshness and more development than the Villa Maria wines,  just above midway in depth.  Bouquet is slightly lifted and aromatic,  with clear rose florals,  on fragrant red plum / berry qualities,  supported by cedary oak.  Flavour is winey,  quite soft and more like merlot than cabernet,  gentle oak and not obviously new,  slightly spirity but a long supple flavour,  finishing a little more aromatic than the bouquet suggests.  This should cellar well,  10 – 20 years.  GK 03/18

2014  Villa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon Ngakirikiri The Gravels   17 ½  ()
Gimblett Gravels,  Hawkes Bay,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $150   [ screwcap;  CS 100% from 14 year old vines and a single vineyard,  cropped at < 4 t/ha;  18 months in French oak c.39% new;  c. 200 x 9-litre cases;  www.villamaria.co.nz ]
Dense carmine,  ruby and velvet,  the deepest wine.  Bouquet seems raw and unknit,  with an unusual (for New Zealand cabernet) penny-royal top-note,  on intense slightly edgy cassis and darkest bottled black doris plummy fruit.  Palate shows darkly plummy fruit too,  but with clear suggestions of mixed ripeness,  some under-ripe berries even hinting at methoxypyrazine and stalks,   other berries seemingly too over-ripe for perfect cassis expression.  Total acid also seems slightly higher than the 2013 – though as is often the case,  the numbers do not confirm the sensory impressions.  The harmony,  ripeness and balance of the earlier wine is at this stage lacking.  One has to make allowances for youth in 100% cabernet sauvignon wines,  but the oak handling seems more assertive.  This may be an artefact of the acute immaturity of the wine,  and the suggestions of under-ripeness.  Yet the flavours leave almost an elderberry-like suggestion,  not comparing well with the other bordeaux blends in the set.  There is however great concentration,  and with time the wine should gain in harmony.  With prestige wines at this kind of price,  and particularly for a high-cabernet sauvignon wine grown in a temperate viticultural climate,  and intended to showcase the winery’s standard of achievement,  there is an imperative need for such a wine to be released only in top-notch years.  In discussion,  the firm advise that is their goal.  I feel they misjudged this one.  We are still too tolerant of imperfect ripeness in bordeaux blends,  in New Zealand wine circles.  If it comes together,  cellar 15 – 30 years.  GK 03/18

2008  Cousino-Macul Merlot Antiguas Reserva   16 ½  ()
Maipo Valley,  Chile:  14%;  $ –    [ cork;  Me 100%,  hand-harvested;  7 days cold-soak,  30 days cuvaison,  followed by 12 months in French oak;  www.cousinomacul.com ]
Ruby and garnet,  markedly older than the field,  well below midway in depth.  Bouquet is mature,  plummy fruit browning now,  brown tobacco and cedary oak complexities,  a hint of glacé figs at a positive complexity level.  Flavour shows good fruit in a more traditional wine style,  furry tannins mostly from older cooperage (I would imagine),  a warmish-climate wine approaching full maturity now.  Light brett.  Will hold 5 – 7 years.  GK 03/18

Pinot Noir
2015  Neudorf Pinot Noir Moutere   18 ½  ()
Upper Moutere Valley,  Nelson,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $59   [ screwcap;  main clones UCD 5,  Dijon 777,  16 – 22 years age,  all hand-picked;  small percentage whole-bunch and all wild-yeast fermentations;  12 months French oak 25% new,  not fined or filtered,  production 401 9-L cases;  www.neudorf.co.nz ]
Lovely limpid pinot noir weight ruby,  the lightest wine.  Nothing light about the bouquet though,  the wine presenting glorious varietal florals of Cote de Nuits quality,  port-wine magnolia and boronia,  slightly spicy and aromatic red cherry fruit,  plus subtle fragrant oak.  Palate follows delightfully,  the fruit impression bearing no relation to the lightness of colour,  the whole wine having a Rousseau-like quality to it.  The floral sweetness suffuses right through the palate,  an essentially burgundian quality only achieved by the great wines of places like Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny.  The quality of flavour is superb,  the wine having a clearly burgundian sweetness to it.  Cellar 5 – 12 years,  maybe 15.  GK 03/18

2013  Greywacke Pinot Noir   18  ()
Southern Valleys,  Wairau Valley,  Marlborough,  New Zealand:  14%;  $45   [ screwcap;  hand-picked;  20% whole bunches;  wild yeast ferments;  16 months in French oak 30 – 40% new;  www.greywacke.com ]
Ruby,  a little maturity showing,  the second to lightest wine.  Like the Neudorf,  in the blind tasting this is dramatically pinot noir-varietal,  but not showing quite the complex Cote de Nuits-like florals of that wine.  Instead it is more fragrantly red cherry centred,  and Pommard in style.  Palate shows fair red berry flavours,  good tannins,  a slightly drier wine than the Neudorf.  The emergence of Marlborough pinot noir is exciting.  Cellar 3 – 8 years.  GK 03/18

2017  Escarpment 'Noir' Pinot Noir Artisan   14 ½  ()
Te Muna Road,  Martinborough,  New Zealand:  13%;  $30   [ screwcap;  the winery describes this as their first foray into ‘organic’ wine-making,  no SO2 etc;  270 days on skins in a 'clay amphora',  no mention of oak handling,  bottled without fining or filtering;  dry;  www.escarpment.co.nz ]
Pinot noir ruby,  one of the lighter wines.  Bouquet is light,  clean,  but chemical rather than winey,  with undertones of stewed rhubarb and under-ripe raspberries,  plus white pepper.  Palate is most odd,  tasting of cardboard and vaguely raspberry flavours,  little or no sign of oak elevation,  slightly acid,  plain and devoid of pinot noir character,  youthful now.  The proprietors say it is not supposed to be kept,  in fact specifically say to drink within 12 months,  but it would have to be more winey in a couple of years than it is now,  because there is some fruit for it to mellow on.  At this stage the aftertaste is cardboard,  more than berry.  Not a success.  GK 03/18

Syrah = Shiraz
2014  Casas del Bosque Syrah Gran Reserva   18  ()
Casablanca Valley,  Chile:  13.7%;  $40   [ cork,  46 mm;  Sy 100%,  hand-picked from 10 – 15-year vines in the coolest-available hillside blocks (May harvest),  cropped at 4.5 t/ha = 1.8 t/ac;  fruit all de-stemmed,  individual berry sorting,  not crushed,  cold-soaked for 7 days;  inoculated ferments @ 32°,  16 days cuvaison;  11 months in French oak 65% new;  presumably sterile-filtered since 3.1 g/L RS;  bottle weight dry 578 grams;  www.casasdelbosque.cl ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  deeper than all but one of the syrahs in the 'Round the World' tasting.  The bouquet improves with decanting and air to reveal a syrah with elevation artefacts intruding to an extent which obscures exciting berry characters ripened to the cassis-grading-to-blueberry point.  The degree to which the charry new oak introduces smoky chocolate and faintly bacon notes so beloved by American wine reviewers (who are less concerned with varietal accuracy) is regrettable,  by European standards.  Any  floral quality the wine may have had is hidden.  Palate is rich,  good berry but again excessive artefact both in flavours and oak aromatics.  Comparison with the exemplary 2013 Yann Chave Hermitage (used as a calibration wine in the 'Round the World' evaluation) confirms this assessment.  On the plus side this wine avoids the Chilean suite of aromas and flavours that seem to stem from lesser (or non-oak) cooperage,  the acid seems natural,  and it will marry up into an exciting bottle of syrah (in its style).  It could have been even better,  however,  to judge from the fruit quality.  For example,  the residual sugar is well-hidden,  but why pander to American market ‘taste’,  if the concept Gran Reserva is to mean anything in the European market ?  Cellar 15 – 25  years.  GK 03/18

Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre & related blends
2015  Domaine de Fondreche Ventoux Il Etait Une Fois   17 ½  ()
Cotes du Ventoux AOC,  Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  14%;  $50   [ cork,  50mm;  Gr 80%,  Sy 10,  Mv 10,  the grenache 79 years old,  grown on calcareous soil parent materials;  cuvaison to 21 days,  lees maturation and 12 months in vats and large wood;  Il Etait Une Fois signifies ‘once upon a time’ – it is not produced every year;  www.fondreche.com ]
Ruby and carmine,  some velvet,  midway in depth.  Bouquet benefits from decanting,  to reveal a big youthful uncoordinated wine,  lots of red to dark-red berry fruit,  and later with air,  the tell-tale aromatic silver pine quality of high-grenache wines from a not-too-hot climate.  Palate is furry on the youthful grapey tannins,  good fruit richness,  slightly peppery,  very little oak,  even a certain hardness suggesting part of the wine was raised in concrete.  This is intrinsically a better wine than it judges to be today,  which will score higher in 10 years.  A Wine Importer selection.  Cellar 10 – 25 years.  GK 03/18

2012  Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone   17 +  ()
Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  14%;  $19   [ cork 46mm;  Sy 50%,  Gr 45,  Mv 5,  cropped at 5.2 t/ha (2.1 t/ac);  18 months in large wood / foudre;  www.guigal.com ]
Attractive ruby and some velvet,  medium weight,  just below midway in depth.  Bouquet is pure,  enticing and slightly aromatic red fruits along the lines of raspberry but browning a little now,  lifted by pepper and gentle oak.  Palate continues the nett impression,  good ripeness,  sufficient richness,  older oak mainly in attractive balance,  the flavours seeming more grenache-led … though the cepage is syrah dominant.  One of the great wine values of the world.  Turned out useful in this batch,  since it is in fact dry.  Cellar 5 – 20 years.  GK 03/18

2015  Domaine de Fondreche Ventoux   14 +  ()
Cotes du Ventoux AOC,  Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  14%;  $20   [ cork,  50mm;  Gr 50%,  Sy 30,  Mv 20,  grown on calcareous soil parent materials;  cuvaison to 28 days,  lees maturation and 18 months in vats and large wood;  www.fondreche.com ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  quite rich,  above midway in depth.  Initially opened,  the wine is reductive to a fault,  and needs vigorous aeration.  It gradually reveals dark fruits in a raw-meaty way,  but it continues to smell as if it were raised largely in concrete.  Palate matches exactly,  rich fruit but the flavours made hard and dull by entrained sulphides.  Some oak flavours are now apparent,  but in youth they serve only to reinforce the hardness.  Not a success,  put aside for 10 years.  Noteworthy that all northern hemisphere published reviews of this wine (accessible to me) make no mention of reduction.  The technical acuity of so many winewriters is sadly lacking.  People who seek beauty in wine are continually misled.  A Wine Importer selection.  GK 03/18

All other red wines, blends etc
2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Monte das Promessas   18  ()
Alentejano,  Portugal:  14%;  $14   [ cork,  38mm;  bottle-shape claret;  cepage is touriga nacional,  Sy,  PV,  alicante bouschet (a vinifera teinturier,  Gr x petite bouschet),  ratios not given;  harvested from vines planted at 3,000 / ha,  destemmed;  fermentation in stainless steel with temperature control to 27º for 12 days,  then 4 months ageing in French and American oak barriques;  www.casasantoslima.com ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  a classic young claret colour,  well above midway in depth.  Bouquet shows wonderfully rich deep red fruits,  not as floral as some of the cabernet-led wines,  more like dark bottled omega plums,  shaped by subtle cedary oak.  Alcohol is well-balanced on bouquet.  The flavour is rich,  long and deep,  augmented by some residual sugar to the finish,  and the flavours are slightly spicy when compared with the Bordeaux blends.  The light oak handling is attractive:  would that more Australasian producers had such a subtle approach.  Even though the elevage does not suggest a wine made for long cellaring,  the fruit richness coupled with the main varieties being touriga nacional and syrah suggest this wine should cellar 5 – 20 years.  It will be accessible sooner than the cabernet blends.  Bottle shape is appropriate.  A Wine Direct selection.  GK 03/18

2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Fortissimo   18  ()
Alentejano,  Portugal:  14%;  $15   [ cork,  38mm;  bottle-shape burgundy;  cepage is touriga nacional (the principal grape of port,  Portugal's finest,  some similarities to cabernet sauvignon),  Sy,  PV,  alicante bouschet (a vinifera teinturier,  Gr x petite bouschet),  ratios not given;  harvested from vines planted at 3.000 / ha,  destemmed;   fermentation in stainless steel with temperature control to 27º for 14 days,  then 7 months ageing in French and American oak barriques;  www.casasantoslima.com ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  a dense bordeaux-blend colour,  the third deepest wine.  Like the Promessas,   this has the depth and colour of touriga nacional,  in a darkly berried,  rich,  fresh and fragrant winey bouquet.  There are hints of cassis,  but also bottled black doris plum and even boysenberry,  plus some vanillin from new oak.  Flavour includes a hint of balsam-like aromatics as in Sophia.  Palate is much richer than Sophia,  though,  just chock-a-block with berry fruit,  again with a few grams (say,  3) residual sugar.  It is hard to decide how much to be concerned by the sugar,  but in 10 years time it will less of a worry.  If there were a little more elevation in oak,  the sweetness would be less apparent.  Cellar 5 – 20 years.  Bottle shape would be better as claret.  A Wine Direct selection.  GK 03/18

2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Lab   17 ½  ()
Lisbon district,  Portugal:  13%;  $17   [ screwcap;  bottle-shape claret;  cepage is castelao 35% (the commonest Portuguese red grape,  synonym periquita),  tinta roriz = tempranillo 25,  Sy 25,  touriga nacional 15;  vines grown at 4,200 / ha,  on calcareous and shale soil parent materials 100 – 200 m asl,  all destemmed;  fermentation temperature controlled to 28º – 30º C,  cuvaison 28 days,  then four months in barrel;  www.casasantoslima.com ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  midway in depth.  Bouquet is deeply berried and fragrant,  not quite floral but a positive ripe almost garrigue-like quality,  reminding of a rich Cotes-du-Rhone,  or even Gigondas.  Palate again shows great fruit,  so rich it seems nearly sweet,  again with a little residual sugar.  Flavours are red fruits,  raspberry and the like,  some tannin adding structure.  The most attractive feature of these Portuguese wines is the complexity of berry flavour,  and the very light oaking.  This too should cellar 5 – 15 years,  on its fruit richness.  Bottle shape would more appropriately be burgundy.  A Wine Direct selection.  GK 03/18

2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Portuga   17 ½  ()
Lisbon district,  Portugal:  12%;  $16   [ screwcap;  bottle-shape burgundy;  cepage is castelao (the commonest Portuguese red grape,  synonym periquita),  touriga franca (a port variety,  lighter and more perfumed than touriga nacional),  CS,  Sy;  vines grown at 4,200 / ha,  on calcareous and shale soil parent materials 100 – 200 m asl,  all destemmed;  fermentation in concrete and stainless steel vats temperature controlled to 28 – 30º C,  cuvaison 28 days,  then four months in barrel;  www.casasantoslima.com ]
Ruby,  a different hue and style from the bordeaux-like top wines,  well below midway in depth of hue.  Bouquet is different too,  immediately very fragrant,  almost perfumed,  red fruits including raspberry,  so that blind you wonder if it is a grenache-led blend.  Palate is soft,  rich and supple,  hinting at pinot noir but with exciting aromatics reminiscent again of silver pine / grenache.  This wine is a bit like pinot noir,  never judge burgundy-style wines by their colour.  The apparent richness and sweet fruit is again built up by a little residual sugar.  Oaking is beautifully subtle.  This will cellar longer than one supposes,  given the varieties and richness,  5 – 15 years,  maybe longer.  Wine-style and bottle shape coincide,  here.  A Wine Direct selection.  GK 03/18

2015  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Vale Perdido   17  ()
Lisbon district,  Portugal:  13%;  $13   [ cork,  38mm;  bottle-shape claret;  cepage is castelao 35% (the commonest Portuguese red grape,  synonym periquita),  camarate (a soft,  low-acid,  early-developing blending variety akin to castelao,  trincadeira (tinta amarela,  a dark port variety),  touriga nacional,  Sy;  vines grown at 4,200 / ha,  on calcareous and shale soil parent materials 100 – 200 m asl,  all destemmed;  fermentation temperature controlled to 28º – 30º C.,  cuvaison 28 days,  unspecified time in barrel;  www.casasantoslima.com ]
A lovely medium ruby,  bright,  some velvet,  below midway in depth,  the weight of a good Cotes-du-Rhone.  And the bouquet is for all the world like Cotes-du-Rhone too,  bright vibrant red fruits,  light black pepper as if syrah is prominent instead of the last listed.  This wine was a little closed initially,  but breathed up remarkably.  Flavour is a little plainer than some of the other Portuguese wines in the set,  suggestions of juicy blackberry,  the oak component less integrated,  possibly an academic trace of brett.  It is the driest of the Portuguese wines.  This should marry up well,  and cellar 5 – 15 years.  A Cotes-du-Rhone look-alike for $13,  though the bottle shape would be better as burgundy.  A Wine Direct selection.  GK 03/18

2014  Casa Santos Lima / Companhia das Vinhas Tarambola   17  ()
Lisbon district,  Portugal:  14%;  $15   [ screwcap;  bottle-shape burgundy;  cepage is touriga nacional (the principal grape of port,  Portugal's finest,  some similarities to cabernet sauvignon),  syrah,  cabernet sauvignon,  ratio not given,  the vines grown at 4,200 / ha,  on calcareous and shale soil parent materials 100 – 200 m asl,  all destemmed;  fermentation temperature controlled to 28º C.,  cuvaison c.22 days;  then 8 months in French and American oak barrels;  www.casasantoslima.com ]
Ruby,  carmine and velvet,  quite rich,  above midway in depth.  Bouquet is quiet,  clean,  pure,  youthful,  a little spirity,  perhaps not all raised in oak.  Flavour is less sophisticated than some of the companion wines,  juicy berry flavours,  some oak,  reasonable tannins still unknit,  a few grams residual sugar to the finish,  a little more the thought that part of the wine was raised in concrete,  but still clearly European styling.  It will be more attractive after five years in cellar.  Cellar 5 – 20 years.  With this cepage,  bottle shape should be claret.  A Wine Direct selection.  GK 03/18