Douro reds gaining in elegance5th March, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
Douro reds have gone from “loud and shouty” to “increasingly elegant”, according to wine expert Simon Woods.
Speaking at a Discover the Origin masterclass on Douro wines and Ports at The Westbury Hotel in London yesterday, Woods said: “Table wines from the Douro used to be loud and intense due to the heat of the region, but they’re becoming increasingly elegant.
“Winemakers are moving from making loud drum solos to Baroque orchestral wines. There’s a taming going on in the region, giving the wines more finesse,” he added.
According to Woods, the terroir of the Douro’s schist and granite soils is starting to come through in the wines.
“It’s still early days and the winemakers are still learning experimenting with grapes and styles; but the terroir is beginning to come through, which is exciting.
“At the moment the biggest fingerprint in the wines is from the winemakers, but this is starting to change. Winemakers are trying to find a common Douro thread to make the wines distinctive and recognisable, the way Italian wines are,” he said.
“There’s a warmth and spice in the wines, which is common to Portugal and the Douro in particular,” he added.
In reference to Port, Woods believes the best examples share a common thread.
“They have violet aromas and a mineral edge, with garriguey herbs and spices. Vintage Ports get really interesting when the vineyards start talking,” he said.
Woods compared flagship red grape Touriga Nacional to Cabernet Sauvignon, accusing it of being a little stiff and buttoned-up.
Meanwhile, he saw Touriga Franca as more Cabernet Franc-like due to its perfume, and Tinta Roriz as having the red fruit character of Tempranillo due to their shared heritage.
During the masterclass, Woods urged the wine trade not to be snobby about pink Port.
“It might not be to everyone’s taste but it’s a great entry point into the Port category and a clever way to get people interested in Port who might never have discovered it,” he said.
Discover the Origin is hosting a series of masterclasses across the UK on Douro wines and Port, and Burgundy this year aimed at independent retailers and importers – click here for the full masterclass line-up.