The 2007 Reserva Especial, a blend of 40% Touriga Franca, 30% Touriga Nacional and 30% Tinta Roriz aged for 18 months in new French oak, was seen recently. Honestly, I have very little else to add to that note. This is being published only because it was poured next to the 2007 Leda, also reviewed. The comparison between the levels--this being so much more expensive--is worth noting. What do you get for the upgrade in price? Well, this is bigger everywhere. As much as I loved the Leda, this adds a layer or two of depth and considerably more power. At the moment, there is nothing to choose between them, though. The Leda holds its own by being far more expressive and far more elegant. Those who appreciate a more understated and more graceful demeanor may prefer it overall. However, this Reserva Especial (c'mon, this should have been declared as Barca Velha) will win in the long run. It is evolving at a snail's pace, to be sure. It seems likely to exceed my current end-date drinking window, let alone the original one, but let's remain conservative for a while. While this remains rather shut down and sometimes curled into a fetal position, cellar it and drink the Leda. One day they will separate more. I do tend to allow the wines to grow into their potential and give clearer signals as to what they are. This Reserva is not expressive yet, but the Leda has a cap while the sky might one day be the limit here. That day is not quite today, although I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were 33,000 bottles produced. Drink 2018-2045.
Deep ruby with a slight bricking at the rim. Initially the nose offers leather, violets, cured meats and spices reminiscent of black pepper and clove. With swirling in the glass layers of black, brambly fruits are revealed, with youthful, ripe blackberry and black cherry pushing through the savoury elements. This is both incredibly complex and very enticing. The palate follows with a dense core of black fruits framed by peppery nutmeg and clove. The ripe, crunchy tannins carry this primary and spicy fruit core through the mid-palate as earthy, leathery, tobacco undertones come through. Everything is in perfect balance on the long finish as the flavour flutters between the sweet and savoury elements of the wine, with just a touch of smokiness rounding out its complexity. You could drink this now, but it will only improve with 5-10 years in bottle, and will reward long term cellaring for those patient enough to wait.
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão - from a mix of high-elevation and lower vineyards but all in the Douro Superior - from vineyards at Quinta da Leda and Quinta do Sairrão. The first vintage of this wine over which director of oenology Luis Sottomayor had complete control - from vineyard to bottle. Just released. First note is like wild elderberry and there is a definite note of balsam. Intense, dark and coaly (ie dark and dry). Fine and dry textured. Tannins just glide across the palate. Spice and pepper and dark fruit. Gets more meaty with air. Thicker texture than the Barca Velha 2004 but that same balsamic note that I found more marked on older vintages of this wine. With food (wood pigeon with a rich mushroom risotto), this became more silky. Drink 2017-2032.
Reserva Especial 2007 is intensely coloured, almost opaque. Its delightful aroma is equally intense, reminiscent of really ripe red fruits and black plums. Spices such as cinnamon and clove, balsamic of cedar, tobacco box and ""sous-bois"" are also evident, allied with very well integrated notes from the barrel ageing. This is a wine of excellent structure, firm tannins of great quality, balanced by good acidity. The great intensity and complexity of this wine give an extremely long finish.