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    Pinteivera, Douro Valley, M Chapoutier, Portugal

    Michel Chpaoutier is a genius winemaker with the ego and intelligence to go with it.  He loves wine and the land from which it is produced and this fascination has led him to look at various other regions in the world away from his homeland of the Rhone Valley where he produces some of the worlds greatest wines.

    Hence we have a Chapoutier wine from the Douro Valley a region best known for Port but with an increasing reputation for table wines. Here as is often his wont in the Rhone he produces a single varietal wine made purely from the beautifuly scented deep coloured Touriga Nacional. Like many wines from this area it has notable tanin structure which is just starting to ease now but Michel once told me one of his winemaking secrets, that a wine with no fruit and too much tannin will never come round, so you can be sure that this will.

    Portugal is undergoing a renaissance of table wine making and if one of the worlds best wine makers has spotted this then surely this is a bottle worth trying to see what it is he knows.

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    Puro, Quinta Touriga Cha

    Jorge Rosas inherited a beautiful small vineyard high up the Douro Valley in Portugal and he took the brave decision not to make ordinary wine but instead to try and make extraordinary wine here. The vineyards first wine is Quinta Touriga Cha which has in a few short years been recognised as one of the regions finest wines.

    Puro is his latest release and comes from the vineyards younger wines. It is intended to be a simpler more accessible earlier drinking wine that still retains the elegance and charm that marks out the estates first wine.

    Deep purple in colour the fruit bursts from the glass, dark mulberry and plum fruit wrapped up in leather and a hint of exotic spice. It has an amount of grip that will ease over time but will be fine now if enjoyed with food. Decanter magazine awarded the wine 4 stars and 17 points out of 20 which reflects how good this wine is.

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    When my good friend Jorge Rosas inherited his fathers small vineyard high up the Douro Valley he decided to honour his Father by trying to create one of the Douro’s greatest Red Wines. A challenge that many think he is rapidly on the way to achieving.  Jorge’s father Antonio was famous in the Portuguese wine world because it was he who had discovered some of the best vineyard sites in the upper Douro for the production of top quality port.  He did this in his role as the head of their family owned Port company Ramos Pinto. Ramos Pinto was sold in 1991 to Champagne Louis Roederer who have invested much money and time and today they produce not only some delicious Ports but also some fabulous table wines.

    With the money he made from the sale of Ramos Pinto Antonio bought 8 hectares of land near the town of Vila Nova de Foz Coa at the top end of the Douro Valley. The soil is extremely poor consisting largely of slate and shingle.  Old gnarled olive trees dot the landscape enjoying the extreme heat of the summers and the biting cold of the winters. It was here that Antonio started his retirement project planting local varietals Touriga Nacional & Tinto Roriz to make a few hundred bottles of wine for the family to enjoy.

    After his death in 1997 Jorge took his brave decision and invested not only in more vines but also in a small but perfectly formed modern winery. Quinta Touriga Cha now produces some 3500 bottles of wine per year and is able to bottle these on site thanks to another investment by Jorge. The wines are regularly voted amoungst Portugals best and I consider myself lucky to know Jorge and be permitted to bring this wine to the UK.

    The wine is deep, dark purple in colour with powerful aromas of black fruits, tobacco and spice. In the mouth whilst a big wine with good extraction the tannins are well integrated and the current vintage (a difficult one) is ageing gracefully. It is a wine to be enjoyed with food such as slow roast lamb or mature cheese. It has great charm just like Jorge himself. Jorge once told me that he doubts he will ever make any money from this project but he hopes one day to have something memorable to leave his sons that honours their grand father. Buying one is your opportunity to be in on the early days of one of the regions great vineyards.