Comparing two strong red wines from the valley of the river Douro in Portugal and then with a port wine from the same area
“animus” Douro 2017 - Vincente Faria, Vila do Conde
Tinta Roriz, Touriga National and Touriga Franca
“gloria” Reserve Douro 2015 - Vincente Faria, Vila do Conde
Aged in oak
These wines are DOC only for the region; both wines are based on Portugal’s main red grape varietal, Touriga National. They appear to be production in excess of the quota for a more specific DOC classification. Touriga National is famous both as a table wine and the main grape varietal for port wine. Both are available in UK supermarkets at an excellent price/quality point with matching labels but neither label gives much further information: we set out to taste what is the difference.
Starting with the “animus” 2017, straightaway after uncorking it was immediately a full bodied drink, very dry and slightly tannic.
By comparison, the “gloria” Reserve 2015 showed a slightly thinner colour. Less tannic with a slightly bitter after-taste. Immediately after uncorking the impression was not very much more refined than “animus” 2017. Colour was cherry-red with just a slight edge of tawny. Not blackberry or blackcurrant.
The “gloria” Reserve 2015 is old enough, it seemed already to have a slight thinness, maybe at a disadvantage due to ageing compared to its younger sibling. It’s sold in supermarkets and is unlikely to benefit from keeping - both bottles are closed with corks so will continue ageing slightly in the bottle. We tasted only very light oaking, it would have been almost undetectable if it hadn’t been mentioned prominently on the label.
The overall taste of Touriga is not unlike an Italian table wine based on the Sangiovese grape, which it resembles far more than any “International” or French varietal, so quite unlike Merlot, Cabernet etc.
Both wines clearly developed as we enjoyed our cheese in advance sitting down for our meal. The bitter edge mellowed but neither glass developed a great depth.
Later on with our meal, the “gloria” Reserve 2015 revealed its greater depth and subtlety, the mix of grapes and the ever-so-subtle oaking coaxing a variety of cherry aromas to the nose. But the strong bouquets had gone. The bitterness had mellowed too, leaving a drink that offsets well against strong food.
We enjoyed two nights with these bottles, no problem with keeping either opened but unfinished. The first night Terry had presented venison sausages with a high meat content cooked with tomatoes, the following was pork escalope in a fennel seed, spices and flour coating. Both dishes complemented the Douro perfectly.
Unsurprisingly the colour of the table wine is the same hue as a a good port (Taylors 2011). Tasting between them, the Douro tastes much cleaner, the port tastes relatively honey or even mead and is far more viscous in the glass. Going back to the Douro it is thin and clean. And we preferred the wine.
So the ordinary worked well as a bright and breezy aperitif followed by the greater depth of the reserve for the table.