When visiting Portugal earlier in the year courtesy of Amorim Cork, I was impressed with the quality of the Douro white blends. They reminded me in broad terms of some our top-end Chenin-based blends and together with Amorim’s managing director in South Africa Joaquim Sa we cooked up the idea of a comparative tasting.
The venue was Swartland property Kalmoesfontein, home of A.A. Badenhorst Wines and the wines in the mix were:
Druida Encruzado Reserva 2012 (Dão)
Grainha Exclusivo 2012
Niepoort Coche 2011
Niepoort Redoma 2012
Oboé Vinhas Velhas 2012
Terra do Grifo Grande Reserva 2011
Quinta do Vallado Reserva 2013
SA (all Swartland unless otherwise stated)
AA Badenhorst White 2012
Cape Rock GRV 2013 (Vredendal)
David Aristargos 2013
Fable Jackal Bird 2013
Fairview Nurok 2012 (Paarl)
Rall White 2012
Though the wines obviously differed in terms of varieties, some notable commonalities – schist and granite feature both in the Douro and the Swartland and typically the wines are made from old vines, in some cases very old – grapes from the two Niepoort wines from 80-year-old vineyards.
The wines all showed fabulously well , the defining characteristic of the Douro wines being that they were that little bit more tight and savoury while the local stuff had more primary fruit. The incredible quality relative to price that both sets of wines represent should also be noted – the most expensive wine of the day was the Niepoort Coche at €55 a bottle (about R775) but many of the other Portuguese wines sell for under €20.