Original article: Blend All About Wine
By Sarah Ahmed
Pormenor means detail. No doubt that Pedro Coelho looked at the details and did his homework – his first releases of Pormenor 2013, Douro, have already sold out. Not bad for a first-generation winemaker who told me “my grandmother was an oak producer, my father was a producer of cork, so … there had to be someone in the family who produced and drank wine … this is me !! !! ”
So, apart from Pedro’s youthful enthusiasm for the project, what is the attraction? The packaging is simple – no exaggeration – but it has class with a contemporary touch that draws attention to the shelf. And how contemporary it is to throw two white golds and one red! His oenologist consultant is former Niepoort Luis Seabra, another detail, to whose own range of wines Cru wrote these pages earlier this year.
Like Luis Seabra, Pedro’s goal is to show the Douro “in its most natural state … with the minimum of intervention, giving priority to the main characteristics of the Douro Valley: vineyards, grapes, soil and climate.” And just like Luis Seabra’s Cru range, these whites are lively and very textured. In a way, they are not very different from the labels – without overdoing but insinuating – they find their own brand.
In fact the whites are the strongest point, I find the red a bit rustic. Something that is fascinating if we consider that whites come from the Upper Douro sub-region, usually drier and hot, and the red from the Cima Corgo sub-region. Cima-Corgo, right in the “heart of the Douro”, is recurrently cited as the source of the most elegant wines of the Douro and Port wines, and the White Detail maintains this bar – the devil is in the details, especially in the specificity of the place. It is precisely this factor that explains why, contrary to the wisdom received, the Upper Douro is one of the sources of some of my favorite white Douro wines. For example, Concept, Quinta de Maritávora, Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas, Muxagat (although, unfortunately, Mateus Nicolau de Almeida is no longer involved in the project) and Map.
Here are my notes on these debut releases:
Pormenor Branco 2013 (Douro DOC) – this pale yellow wine comes from very old vineyards on shale in the Upper Douro, situated between 400 and 500 meters high in Carrezeda, Ansiães. The grapes were picked at the end of August in order to preserve the acidity. Apparently Rabigato and Códega do Larinho predominate, both varieties have good fruit, but the Rabigato is high in acidity and Códega do Larinho is more usave, less acidity. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. It is a pale yellow with a highly individualized impregnated palate of grilled pineapple with cinnamon, apricot and firmer quince – quite fruity for the Douro. A complexity of acacia honey and a creamy loaf of honey refer to a silky, round palate. A mature and perfect, uninterrupted acidity allows for a long finish. Drinks already very well and alone, has weight and potential to work well with spicy dishes of white fish. 12.63%
Pormenor Reserva Branco 2013 (Douro DOC) – Similarly, the blend of old vines (with Rabigato and Códega do Larinho predominating) was harvested early from vineyards in Carrezeda, Ansiães. However, the fruit came from higher vines, ranging from 600 to 800m altitude, so the Reserva palate (slightly darker yellow) is firmer, more concentrated, with more grape fruit and mineral as soon as it is outdated the wood – I liked it a lot more on the second day when the wood was not so intrusive and finished long, focused and mineral. The Reserva was naturally fermented and aged for nine months in burgundy French oak barrels without temperature control or batonnage. It would leave it to stand for about a year in order to allow the integration of the wood. 12.5%
Pormenor Tinto 2013 (Douro DOC) – this medium-bodied blend of some classic Douro grapes (mainly Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela and Rufete) comes from older vines over 50 years old, in Soutelo do Douro, Cima Corgo, planted between 500 and 600 meters high . It was fermented and macerated in stainless steel vats with some whole bunches (stalks and grapes) for 25 days and aged for 14 months in French oak barrels. Like the White Reserve, this wine needed air. This time because of “white noise” on the nose that harmed the fruit (and which initially thought to be caused by bacterial deterioration, brettanomyces). However, the lucidity of the palate (of the same bottle) on the third day suggests that it was a “trickle” profile derived from the fermentation with the bunches. How was the Red Detail on the third day? Introduced with fresh red currant, cherry and plum, with a subtle touch of “floral”. Although the tannins were earthy and rustic, they did not get in the way of the nicer aspects of this wine – the fruit and the freshness (in fact they allowed that beautiful floral touch to appear). While the rusticity refers to Pedro’s idea to show the Douro “in the most natural way,” at best, the clutches in whole-berry fermentation can produce wines with spice and exciting structure. Pedro told me that this wine was harvested at the beginning of September in order to “maintain the high level of acidity” but, although it salutes the freshness of the palate, I wonder if the gnats would not have benefited more if they were a little more mature? Of course 2013 was a complicated year – from September 27 there was a period of intense rains that encouraged the early harvest. I am, interested in proving the next harvests of this wine 12.5%