The 2013 Reserva Old Vines is a fine success. Granting that I don't have this side-by-side with the 2011, the difference doesn't seem to be as great as you might think on paper. Winemaker Manuel Lobo said Crasto maintained quality here by deleting three typically-used vineyards that underperformed in the vintage. It seems to have worked nicely so far. Hopefully, it will reward cellaring, too. This opens very elegantly. It is beautifully balanced, with a feel of sophistication and refinement--which is pretty much how most of Crasto's wines show these days. Of Crasto's submissions, though, this might well have the most character and complexity this year. As refined and approachable as it seemed to be on opening, this developed steadily and impressively, tightening along the way. This is a terrific Old Vines Reserve. (MS)
A section of the Crasto home vineyard has 70-year-old vines that are used to produce this wine. The resulting concentration and depth of flavor are remarkable. The wine is full of black fruits, dark plum skin and firm tannins. As a complement to this fruitiness, the wine also has the beginnings of a mature leather and spice character. It is likely to be ready to drink from 2018. (RV)
A rich and powerful Portuguese red that features concentrated dark plum, cherry tart and dried berry flavors. Dried meat notes show on the tannic, mocha-lined finish. Drink now through 2022. (KM)
Typically no stems in this wine. 42 plots of old vines (> 70 years), approximately 25-30 varieties, vinified separately so it is winemaker Manuel Lobo's major challenge: picking date, pressing day and blending day -- the three major moments. Blending after blind tasting. Aged 18 months in oak, 85% French and 15% American. TA 4.9 g/l, pH 3.67, RS 1.4 g/l. Very dark crimson. Smells of little dark berries, wild esteva (Cistus ladanifer) resiny notes from the local shrubs, with some red-fruit sweetness. Much darker and more savoury on the palate, lots of spice and roasted potato skins and a little salty at the end. Bone dry and rocky. Quite severe at the moment with very upright structure, dry but not drying, austere but not hard on the finish. Some heat on the finish but still surprisingly fresh. Slight smoky coffee note as it opens up. Rocky dry finish but with a fluid freshness starting to emerge. 17.5/20 points. Drink 2018-2028. (JH)
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