The Douro’s soils were long seen as one and the same when it came to growing Port grapes, of whatever variety. But thanks to new approaches from the major shippers, the regional subtleties of terroir are now being appreciated. Margaret Rand reports
Rand’s 10 terroir-driven Douros
Niepoort, Redoma Branco 2011
From old mixed vineyards at Quinta da Nápoles and others at 400m-700m. Smoke and minerality, honeysuckle and white fruit; very complex.
Price: £18-£19 Cambridge Wine, Drinkmonger, Theatre of Wine, Uncorked, Vinoteca
Quinta do Crasto 2012
Nutty, buttery characters on a complex, balanced, mineral palate. Grown on the north bank of the Douro.
Price: £9.15-£11.50 widely available via UK agent Great Western Wine
Prats & Symington, Chryseia 2011
Comes almost entirely from Quinta do Roriz. Wonderfully spicy, elegant, defined black fruits and very mineral.
Price: £45-£81 Berry Bros & Rudd, Farr, Hedonism, Planet of the Grapes, The Wine Society
Quinta do Vallado, Adelaide 2012
From 80-year-old vines on this estate in the Corgo valley. Complex, tight, integrated, elegant and fine. A dense core of black fruit, but not fruit-driven.
Price: N/A UK quintadovallado.com
Altano, Quinta do Ataide Organic 2011
From the hot, dry Vilariça Valley, where granite hills surround flat vineyards. Concentrated aromatic fruit, beautifully defined, with a detailed texture.
Price: £9.99 Cambridge Wine Merchants, Davy, Partridges, TJ Wines, Waitrose
Quinta do Vale Meão, Meandro 2011
From the Douro Superior. Aromatic with garrigue herbs, juniper and lovely black fruits; structured and supple.
Price: £19-£21.50 Bottle Apostle, Handford Wines, Harvey Nicols, Selfridges, Theatre of Wine
F Olazabal e Filhos, Monte Meão 2011
Touriga Nacional from granite soils in the Douro Superior. Very distinct, bright red cherry character – spicy, peppery and fresh.
Price: N/A UK quintadovalemeao.pt
Quinta do Vallado, Touriga Nacional 2011
Partly from Vallado itself (fresh, concentrated), partly from the Douro Superior (flowery notes). Powerful, dense and fresh, with notes of violet and balsamic. Very fine.
Price: £22-£25 Direct Wine Imports, Exel, Nicolas, Quaff, Wimbledon Wine Cellar, Winedirect
Quinta Vale D Maria, CV 2011
A north-facing vineyard in a closed valley; hot, but not direct sun all day. Big and powerful, but still fresh and balanced sleek black fruits.
Price: £52 (2009) Corney & Barrow
Quinta Vale D Maria 2011
41 varieties make for a complex, dense, muscular wine – very harmonious too. This one’s about power, not the fruit.
Price: £30 (2010) Corney & Barrow, Tanners