Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo’s Late Bottled Vintage has a modern style, in which aromas of blackberries and blueberries are combined with a succulent structure, fluid density, imposing gravity and a beautiful balance between alcohol and sweetness. It is an LBV with a long and precise finish, with great tension. As an unfiltered Port wine, it maintains its ability to evolve positively in the bottle.
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The Quinta gets its name from the patron saint of the 17th century riverside chapel on the property, where the crews of the Rabelo boats would pray for protection on this, which before the Douro was dammed would have been quite a dangerous stretch of the river. The chapel contains within it a statue of Nosso Senhora, which apparently is so heavy (despite its small size) that it takes a few strong men to lift it.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white Portuguese wines of various styles.
The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red Portuguese wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry Portuguese wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
Port is a sweet, fortified wine with numerous styles: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), White, Colheita, and a few unusual others. It is blended from from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, based primarily on Touriga Nacional with over 80 other varieties approved for use. Most Ports are best served slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.