WTN: 1996 Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional

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WTN: 1996 Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional

Postby Roy Hersh » Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:33 pm

The WS bestowed 96 points on the 2001 version of this wine in 2005. Back around 1998, long before most American's ever tried a dry red from the Douro, I purchased a case of this wine and have been drinking a bottle about once per year to watch how they evolve.

This was a monsterous wine from the 1996 harvest. But the grapes from Crasto were excellent, yet with an enormous tannic nature that made opening the first two or three bottles a bit "hard" overall.

Last year's bottle was certainly better. Last night's bottle: ROCKED


I was dining with friends who were visiting from Pennsylvania and are big wine lovers and enjoy Port too. They are not really what I'd call, into experimenting and stick to serious Rhone/Burg/Bordeaux whenever they can. I chose to bring something to pair with the food at one of my new favorite eateries in Seattle. I had the waiter decant this wine and about an hour later we started to drink it.

This has really fleshed out beautifully and the tannins are now much better integrated. Still incredibly youthful and showing full ruby opacity. The nose burst onto the scene and if it had been in my dining room, it would have taken over. Bright plum, floral and spicy notes flew out of the decanter and glass. Wow! Such prominence and far more expressive than even a year ago. What a beauty. On the palate, this showed a sexy and ultra-smooth mouthfeel that was supported by ripe cassis and big blackberry fruit that although powerful, chewy and dense ... was soft at the same time. It has finally hit its stride a decade out. I highly recommend this wine if it is something you can still find. It will drink beautifully for years to come. 93+ points.
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Re: TN: 1996 Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional

Postby Marc D » Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:04 pm

Roy, thanks for the note. I have little experience with the dry reds from Portugal. I did get to try a syrah from Quinta do Monte (?sp) last year that was pretty impressive, clearly old world terroir but with plenty of substance.

I googled Quinto do Crasto after reading your post and found some fantastic pictures of very steep hillsides terraced with vines. The location of the winery is amazing.

To echo the others, I'm glad to read your posts here.
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Re: TN: 1996 Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional

Postby Roy Hersh » Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:38 pm

Thanks Mark.

The Douro pretty much ALL looks as beautiful as does the great Quinta do Crasto property. Many of the vineyard plantings are done on steeply terraced hillsides with slopes exceeding 40 degrees in some cases. Most are way too steep even for bulldozers. One of the most dangerous job in the Douro is a bulldozer driver as a few get killed just about every single year. Imagine picking the grapes and having to walk to the quinta at either the top or the very bottom of the slope which can go from the river up over 2000 ft high, with a basket weighing nearly 150 pounds. Nowadays the baskets usually only weigh about half that but still hand carried.

I am sure Robin won't mind a quick self-promotion ... if you are really interested ... sign up from the newsletter by visiting http://www.fortheloveofport.com as it is free to anyobdy who wants to read it.
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Re: TN: 1996 Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional

Postby Otto » Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:30 pm

Roy, thanks for the note. I'm always on the look out for Portuguese table wines also. But I recently tried the 2003 of this wine. I thought it utterly dominated by oak. There was nothing else on the nose. The palate was better with the lovely savory greenness (nota bene: not underripeness) so typical of Portuguese wines. Was this a victim of the vintage? It would seem from your note that this was not spoofulated in any way?

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Re: TN: 1996 Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:44 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:I recently tried the 2003 of this wine. I thought it utterly dominated by oak.


For what it's worth, I tasted all the Crasto 03 Douros at the winery in December. Granted that it was a sociable tasting with the wine maker and a couple of good friends, so far from gimlet-eyed analysis, I was generally impressed, although some of the specific descriptors could certainly be read as "OAK!"

Quinta do Crasto 2003 Douro
This is 50 percent Tinta Roriz, the rest a blend of other Port varieties. Raspberry and black cherry, fruit-forward, tannic. Anticipated U.S. price, $18

Quinta do Crasto 2003 Douro Reserva Vinhas Velhas
Inky. A lot of spicy oaky vanilla over plummy fruit. Big, powerful, impressive but needs time. $35

Quinta do Crasto 2003 Tinta Roriz
Ripe cherry and spicy oak. Roquette calls it "Zin style" and I can see that. I like it. $60+

Quinta do Crasto 2003 Touriga Nacional
Blackish-purple. Incredible. Fruit and earth, toast, floral violets. Brilliant. $60+

Quinta do Crasto 2003 Vinha da Ponte
Deep, dark and brooding. Intense. Needs much time. $100+

Quinta do Crasto 2003 Vinha Maria Teresa
Huge, complex. Blackberry, chocolate, toast and earth. Big and bold but nicely built; needs time. $100+

Roquette e Cazes 2003 Xisto ("Schist")
Very dark, opaque. Bold but refined, silken. A great Douro wine with a French accent, made in partnership between Roquette and Jean-Michel Cazes of Chateau Lynch-Bages. A blend of 60 percent Touriga Nacional, 25 percent Touriga Franca plus other varieties, it will be distributed in the U.S. by Palm Bay Imports of Boca Raton, Fla., and will sell for around $60.
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Re: TN: 1996 Quinta do Crasto, Touriga Nacional

Postby Bill Spohn » Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:59 pm

I have 3 wines from Crasto in 1999 - Tinta Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Cao - I was figuring they'd make anice tasting at around the age of 10 years.

Too bad they have gone a bit crazy on price - the recent vintages are hitting nearly $80 Can.
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