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A new dawn for Douro reds

2016 Quinta da Romaneira, Reserva, Douro, Portugal  

£49.50, reduced to £44.50 each by the case of 12 bottles, Lea & Sandeman, 020-7244 0522, leaandsandeman.co.uk 

It has been a long wait for the guardians of the Douro Valley to make truly awesome red wines. While Port is, rightly, the focus for this historic wine region, the famous houses have all been trying to crack the red-wine code for a good many years. Prats & Symington (the amalgamation of Bordeaux maven Bruno Prats and the Symington family, owners of Dow’s, Graham’s. Cockburn’s and Warre’s, among others) come closest with Chryseia, which often hits the spot and gets serious red fans and collectors excited.

I have tasted a lot of wannabe Douro red heroes and they often seem to lack polish and sophistication. Granted,they are inky, powerful and long-lived – a few but not all of the ingredients for collectable wine – but they are usually missing vital parts, namely control, balance and finesse, which Burgundy, Bordeaux and even the great Northern Rhônes have in spades.

Just the other day I tasted the current release 2016 and soon to be released 2017 (due out at the end of this month) Reservas from Romaneira and I could not believe it. Both weighing in at a fit 13.5% alcohol, and with the meticulous build-quality of top Left Bank clarets, but with the heady touriga nacional and franca perfumes and flavours, these wines are sensational. The 2016 is more foursquare and pensive, while the 2017 is pure liquid charm. A new Douro dawn has arrived.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)

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