Spotlight on Douro: 90+ point reds from DWWA 2019

“It’s an open secret that the Douro Valley is very capable of producing high-quality reds from its characterful indigenous grapes…. Douro wines of quality have grown up fast in sophistication, number and diversity,” says Sarah Ahmed, Regional Chair for Portugal at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

At DWWA 2019 this statement rang true as Ahmed’s panel awarded not one, but two coveted Best in Show medals to red wines from the Douro. To give this perspective, of the more than 16,500 wines tasted, only 50 (0.3%) received this esteemed award.

João Brito e Cunha’s 2016 Quinta de S. José Reserva and the 2016 Quinta dos Castelares Superior both received 97 points and DWWA’s top accolade of Best in Show.

As we look forward to DWWA 2020 results – available on Decanter.com this 22 September – we look back at 2019 results with a spotlight on Douro and the quality-driven, 90+ point red wines that impressed at last year’s competition.


Premium read – The Douro: An evolution plus 20 top wines worth seeking out


Douro: 90+ point reds from DWWA 2019

For stockists and additional wine details, select the wine of interest below

Quinta dos Castelares, Superior, Superiore, Douro, Portugal 2016

97 points, Best in Show: Value
50% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 25% Tinta Roriz
Despite turning our searchlight on a number of Platinum contenders, only one wine in our Value category made it through to Best In Show this year – but it’s a cracker. This Douro red is dark and sweet-scented, packed with all the evocative wild-flower and plant allusions (cistus, laurel, sloe, juniper) which typify its regional origins. Once in the mouth, this is poised, ample, fresh, textured and full, its dark berry fruits lifted by those perfumes of remoteness which make Douro wines so distinctive. Its value is so impressive, indeed, that it could compete squarely with wines several price brackets above it. Drink 2019-2025

João Brito e Cunha, Quinta de S. José Reserva, Douro, Portugal 2016

97 points, Best in Show
60% Vinha Velha, 40% Touriga Nacional
A second Douro wine in our Best in Show category, and one which is totally different in style to the first. This saturated black-purple wine (hugely youthful still) is almost shockingly aromatic: a wind-lifted blast of black forest fruits which seems to come tearing directly off the terraces, freshened further by herbal essences and glittering with a sweetness which owes very little to oak or winery cossetting and everything to the ripening cycle of an extraordinary site. All the intensity of its old-vine fruits and complex spectrum of grape varieties is evident in the glass in this indubitably fine and deeply Portuguese wine. Drink 2019-2030

Quinta do Couquinho, Colheita, Douro, Portugal 2016

95 points, Gold
50% Touriga Nacional, 45% Touriga Franca, 5% Sousão
Ripe, dense aromas including violets, tea leaf, bergamot, peppercorns and fresh black fruit overlay minty blueberry touches. Graphite, mineral touches on clean palate, savoury notes to finish.

Adão António Aguiar, Harvest Reserve, Superiore, Douro, Portugal 2016

93 points, Silver
50% Touriga Nacional, 45% Touriga Fêmea, 5% Sousão
White pepper, fresh thyme and violets combine on the nose with a touch of blackberry. Delicate palate, floral minerality, refreshing, with fine mouth-coating tannins.

Adega Vila Real, Reserva, Douro, Portugal 2016

90 points, Silver
30% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Barroca, 30% Touriga Franca
Intense blackcurrant fruit concentration, with raisin and date aromas. Dense palate has coffee, chocolate, nutty notes and a spicy round finish.

Carm, Touriga Nacional-Tinta Roriz-Touriga Franz, Douro, Portugal 2016

93 points, Silver
40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Roriz
Intense, elegant rich fruit nose with a floral mineral covering. High quality fruit on muscular palate, powerful tannins covering lovely red fruits.

Casa Ferreirinha, Quinta da Leda, Douro, Portugal 2015

90 points, Silver
50% Touriga Franca, 20% Touriga Nacional, 15% Tinta Cao
A measured and complex nose, ripe black fruit, violets and spice. Concentrated, juicy tannins, oaky touches, purple fruit freshness.

Casa Ferreirinha, Vinha Grande, Douro, Portugal 2016

90 points, Silver
40% Touriga Franca, 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz
Satisfying rich, ripe nose, Earl Grey, cassis, herbal twist. Smooth plummy palate, juicy blackberry fruit, spicy hints, long tannic finish.

Casa Santos Lima, Anciano Reserva, Douro, Portugal 2016

91 points, Silver
35% Tinta Barroca, 30% Sousão, 25% Tinta Cao
Lovely ripe blue fruit aromas, peppery overtones. Supple and subtle oak covers mellow, juicy fruit. Classy, polished wine with spicy notes.

Dona Matilde, Douro, Portugal 2016

91 points, Silver
40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Amarela
Spicy red fruit, liquorice aromas, cocoa, cigar box, spicy tobacco hints. Lovely juicy profile, fine cedary tannins, persistent chocolatey finish.

Jean-Hugues Gros Wine, Little Odisseia, Douro, Portugal 2016

92 points, Silver
40% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Roriz, 20% Touriga Nacional
Attractive herbal blue fruit aromas, bergamot, Earl grey, woody overtones. Persistent juicy black and red fruit, quality oak, evident tannins on finish.


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Mário Cardoso, Quinta da Sequeira Reserva, Douro, Portugal 2015

90 points, Silver
40% Touriga Nacional, 35% Touriga Franca, 25% Tinta Roriz
Dark, brooding purple fruit nose, bergamot, mulberry, fine spices, graphite. Dense, creamy palate, blue fruit, medicinal notes, dry oaky tannins.

Quinta da Côrte, Douro, Portugal 2015

90 points, Silver
50% Touriga Nacional, 50% Touriga Franca
Very complex nose, herbal notes with bergamot, graphite and peppery hints. Full-bodied super spicy palate, evident tannins, freshness on finish.

Quinta da Gaivosa, Douro, Portugal 2015

90 points, Silver
20% Touriga Franca, 20% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinto Cão
Wonderful fresh nose, potent ripe fruity notes. Juicy palate, dense plummy notes, roasted berries, dominant oak, serious earthy finish.

Quinta de Ventozelo, Touriga Nacional, Douro, Portugal 2016

92 points, Silver
100% Touriga Nacional
Attractive red fruit aromas, Earl Grey, vanilla and peppery notes showing through. Rounded mouthfeel and violet hints on the textured oaky palate.

Quinta Dona Mafalda, A.B., Douro, Portugal 2017

93 points, Silver
100% Alicante Bouschet
A lovely focused dark-fruited nose with spices coming through. Fine, firm tannins, oaky touches and alluring lick of juicy fruit.

Quinta dos Castelares, Douro, Portugal 2017

90 points, Silver
50% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 25% Tinta Roriz
Attractive dark fruit nose violets, blueberry and chocolate notes, with a hint of spice. Fresh fruity palate, grippy tannins, pleasantly structured finish.

Rui Roboredo Madeira, Castello D’Alba Vinhas Velhas, Douro, Portugal 2017

90 points, Silver
70% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Roriz
Excellent ripe blue fruit aromas, very polished with an earthy edge. Spicy, herbal palate, vanilla oak, complex bergamot savoury finish.

Secret Spot Wines, Lacrau Old Vines, Douro, Portugal 2015

93 points, Silver
100% Field Blend
Earth, liquorice and spice on the nose, touch of cedar, clove, blueberry. Lovely elegance to palate, good fruity freshness to the finish.

Symington Family Estates, Quinta do Ataíde, Douro, Portugal 2016

91 points, Silver
30% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Barroca, 40% Touriga Franca
Fresh blackcurrant leaf nose, floral bergamot,and red currant underneath. Elegantly structured palate, silky eucalyptus, cherry notes, milk chocolate tannins, spicy finish.

Symington Family Estates, Quinta do Vesuvio, Douro, Portugal 2016

91 points, Silver
70% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca
Impressive, delicate aromas, violets, orange blossom, bergamot, cocoa and tobacco lead into vanilla-oak palate, richly complex, floral notes, liquorice, spicy finish.

Vini Lourenço, Pai Horacio Grande Reserva, Douro, Portugal 2015

90 points, Silver
35% Tinta Roriz, 45% Sousão, 20% Touriga Nacional
Very elegant spicy black fruit, potent, intense and generous oak. Rich fruit concentration on juicy palate, lively herbal finish.

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Source: Olivia Mason