Regional Trophy: Red Douro under £15
Castello d’Alba - Grande Reserva - Vinhas Velhas - Douro 2011
WINEMAKER RUI MADEIRA scooped two DWWA Trophies this year. It is hard to think of two more contrasting wines than this concentrated, full-bodied Douro red from Port country and Beyra Vermiosa Altitude 700 Mt 2012. Yet there are common threads: both are sourced from native grape varieties, old vines and mountainous terrain.
What’s more, like Beyra, this wine’s freshness, fruit purity and perfume are marked even though it comes from Douro Superior (the Douro’s driest, hottest sub-region) and was made in 2011, a hot year highly rated for Vintage Port. How so? Madeira, who grew up in this part of the Douro and co-founded Vinhos Douro Superior (VDS) in 1999 explains, ‘with a good selection of vineyards, even in the hottest vintages we can get a lot of fruit and purity, for freshness, we play with grape varieties, altitude, solar exposure and terraces’. This is why VDS owns 37ha of vineyards and sources grapes from another 200ha: ‘I’m always looking for north-facing vineyards that allow you to get higher acid content as well as less raisined grapes’.
As for the lead varieties, Madeira adds ‘Touriga Franca gives rock rose character, as well as elegant and sweet tannins, Touriga Nacional supplies fresh notes - bergamot, basil - as well as black fruits; while Sousão adds acidity and power’.