|Sogrape (Portugal) Dao Reserva 1999
Sogrape is Portugal's largest wine producer, responsible for everything from Matues Rosé to Offley Ports. The company is also ambitious and forward thinking however, as evidenced by an increasing number of quality regional wines being made in high-tech new facilities. This comes from the Dão, south of the Douro Valley, and is made from a blend including Touriga Nacional, Jaen and Tinta Roriz. One of Portugal's huge attractions is their use of indigenous Portugeuse grapes, rather than wholsale re-planting with international varieties. New oak ageing has given this wine a voluptuously smooth, inviting, mysterious nose of spices, coffee and deep, plummy fruit. There's an intriguing wild, herbal and mint quality. On the palate it abounds with jammy fruit that again has an aniseed and fennel herbal influence, with licquorice and bitter dark chocolate notes into a spicy, powerful finish. There is just a note of hollowness on the mid-palate here, but a real tonic to jaded palates and a fascinating glimpse into modern Portugeuse winemaking.
Wine Society, Independents: contact Steven Garnier, £8.99.