Quinta Vale D. Maria Reserve Porto Lote 06

04222009Wow. Mmm… Port. It’s one of those things you either love right away, or come to love after learning about it and tasting multiple bottles. Fortunately, I loved Port the second I tasted it years ago – I have a sweet tooth and a love for big reds. That helps. I tasted this one at the Vancouver Wine Fest a while back and a recent craving led to it recently being popped open.

The QVDM Reserve Port was bottled unfined and unfiltered, as winemaker/owner Cristiano van Zellar’s personal reserve. It’s produced from single vineyard Douro grapes – a blend of Tinta Amarela, Rufete, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, Touriga Nacional and Sousão – and is crushed by foot (I hope they washed) before being aged for 2 years in old wood vats. It’s bottled only once every year, on the date shown on the label. In this case, that would be 2006.

This is a wine that would pair very well with a lot more than dark cocolate (check – I loved it): try blue and hard, flavorful cheeses, as well as dark chocolate-based desserts. I’m getting hungry just writing this.

Because it’s unfiltered and unfined, be careful when pouring this wine. There’s a lot of sediment in the bottle. You want the wine, not the sludgey stuff.

So, what did I think? Well, it’s a bloody tasty Port for the money. It’s got a lot of the character of a Vintage Port, without the price tag. The nose shows ripe blackberry, black tea and dark chocolate. A sip gives up a bunch of ripe and juicy blackberry along with the dark chocolate and a finish that has that black tea edge.

Is it good? Hell yeah. It’s very good. If you love the Port and can find it, you won’t be disappointed.

~$30 CDN if you can find it.

4 1/2 stars