Notes from the Wine Cellar – The Quinta do Crasto
In an effort to bring more wine knowledge to our friends, fans, and customers, Vino Vino will be periodically posting educational articles about some of our favorite wines we carry. Today one of our house sommeliers, Brad Sharp, writes about a fantastic find on our shelves from Portugal…
2014 Quinto do Crasto, Douro, Portugal
History: Known primarily for Port, the Duoro region of Portugal is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, first being drawn in 1756. Since the early 1980s wineries have been shifting to producing dry red and white table wines, and, in the process, gaining increasing worldwide recognition. The 2014 Crasto, from a winery on a mountaintop overlooking the Duoro River, exemplifies this trend.
Technical wine geek notes: at 14% abv and composed of 35% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz (known in Rioja as Tempranillo), 25% Touriga Franca, and 10% Tinta Barroca, the Crasto contains 4 of 5 of the official grape varietal for Port—though the official number of red grapes is significantly higher. The Barroca, with its higher sugar content, lends the wine roundness, while the Franca adds tannin, color, robustness, and mulberry/rose notes. The Nacional is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, in that it is ideal for blending, in addition to contributing dark, violet, and leather melodies. All in all, the wine gives of rose, raspberry, blackberry, new leather jacket (though in Texas, we might say saddle) notes.
Essentially, please reconsider what you knew 1) Portugal is only known for Port and 2) Spain is the best value for red table wines on the Iberian Peninsula. Those statements could be qualified, but, let’s face it, we have limited time and wine to try. The 2014 Crasto is a perfect passport to Portugal without the layovers or rushed runs to connecting flights.
Impressionistic tasting details: It’s utterly useless to try to make mental calculations of how Crasto relates to ruby, tawny, LBV, or vintage Port; accept it as its own gift. The wine evolves in a lithe manner in the bottle over the course of an hour, much like a modern dance you were dragged to against your will but then you find yourself moved as the dancers’ limbs make magic under the undulating lights. Close your eyes and be seduced, sip after sip….