I was delighted to have the opportunity to try some Douro still wines from Quinta de Tourais in Cambres in the Baixo Corgo, the westernmost part of the Douro region. The winery has an 8-hectare vineyard densely packed with 37,000 vines, a field blend of around 30 different black and white varieties, most of them more than 60 years old. Traditionally the winery sold on all its production to Port producers. Winemaker Fernando Coelho still sells port grapes to one of the shippers, but he also retains some grapes to make around 15-20,000 bottles of unfortified still wines of his own each year.
As with Port, the red wine process begins with destemmed black grapes being foot-pressed in open granite lagares. However, as the grapes are fermented to dryness, without the addition of distilled alcohol, the process takes longer – a week or so, the fermentation taking place with the ambient yeasts.
The red wines are matured in oak and have the potential to age for 10-15 years.
The whites are pressed and then fermented in stainless steel.
The rosés are directly pressed and fermented in oak vats.
Touronio 2015 Rosé
Made with Touriga Nacional, 12.5% ABV
A nice, fresh and fruity rosé, medium salmon in colour with zesty acidity in the mouth. Notes of citrus fruit (grapefruit and lime) and green fruit (apple, pear) were apparent on the nose and again in the mouth. This was a dry wine with medium (+) acidity, medium body and medium finish.
Touronio 2015 White
Field blend of over 10 varieties, many of them old vines. Fermented in stainless steel.
This was a pleasant, easy-drinking wine, pale lemon-green in colour, with notes of tropical and citrus fruit (pineapple and lemons), a floral hint (orange blossom) and red apple apparent. This was a dry wine, with medium acidity, fairly light-bodied and very quaffable.
Touronio 2014 Red
5 varieties (40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Tinta Roriz, 15% Sosāo, 13.5% Touriga Franca, 5% Tinto Cāo)
This was a pleasant fruity red wine, intense ruby in colour and packed with aromas and flavours of oak (cedar and sweet spices such as cinnamon and cloves), red fruit (cherries, raspberries) and black fruit (blackberries, plums). In the mouth it was dry with medium (+) tannins, barely ripe and a little coarse. Medium acidity, medium (+) body. I think this wine needs longer for the aromas and flavours to become better integrated.
This is the winery’s iconic wine and is a field blend of 20 varieties. 14% ABV. This wine was aged in oak, 30% of it in new barrels.
As with the Touronio red, I felt that this wine really needs more time to become fully integrated. It was medium ruby in colour with a medium (+) intensity nose revealing aromas of red fruit (cherries, raspberries, strawberries), black fruit (bramble), herbal notes (mint, liquorice) and oak (touch of sweet spice). It was a dry wine with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) body and high tannins, which were still a little bit astringent but riper than the previous wine. Long finish.
Vino Generoso (20 year old tawny-style for own consumption)
Like many small-scale growers and producers in the Douro, Fernando makes his own port-style wine for personal consumption and he shared a glass with us.
This was medium (+) tawny in colour with a pronounced nose. The first note was alcohol, followed by rich oxidative aromas (coconut, hazelnut, coffee, toffee, Brazil nuts). On the palate, this wine was sweet with medium (+) acidity, high alcohol, full body, pronounced flavour intensity with notes of hazelnuts, brazil nuts, toffee, coconut, coffee, toffee and caramel. The wine was very good quality, marred slightly by that initial note of alcohol on the nose. Otherwise it showed excellent concentration and complexity.