Like the frequent reader of this blog might have already realized – the author is lazy. Some lazy snobby wine-bastard! So, no real surprise that I have no detailed research outcome at hand. Several reasons: Reason No. 1: José Maria da Fonseca is a humongously large and super well known wine producer with domains all over Portugal -> so, no need for an introduction! Reason No. 2: I assume Dão is a prominent name for all interested readers. The others won't come far enough to read this very sentence - I guess! I think, I can permit myself to anticipate: Those dropouts miss something!!! Reason No. 3.: Due to my overall wine oriented incompetence I simply could not find a lot input about this very well know wine! Well, in my defense … apparently, since 1996 there is a substantial difference compared to today's Terras Altas wines from J.M.d.F. So, not that easy to proper info. The only knowledge I can drop is: grown on slate soil and red blend of the autochtonous grape varieties: Jaen, Alfrocheiro Preto, Cabernet Sauvignon (obviously no auto') and Touriga Nacional. Anyway, at least not so much reading today! I hope I can keep up this conciseness in the future ;-)
8:22 pm (just opened)
Colour: surprisingly vital and not too red-brownish colour (only on the rim), not really tinted, no real water corona at all; miserable cork, but luckily not soaked
Nose: very reduced and well structured aromas of rum pot, a bit Northern-Rhone-Style, hay, clear dark and sweet cherries, very obvious Touriga Nacional characteristics, profound and lean schist'y mineral features, fine smoke – totally surprising nasal impression – I though it'll be dead ...
Taste: great and invigorating a acid, plenty of super fresh and almost juvenile seeming Touriga Nacional and Jaen characteristics, also rum pot and clear cherries, minor well fitting fury; nice texture, still some traces of firm tannin (!), astoundingly nice a sweet core on the mid-palate, slate impressions all over the place, really lean (for today's wines) – absolutely not thin – and full of substance! WHAT A SURPRISE!!!
Nose: slate expression even more present right now, less rum pot, smoke seems to intensify, the rest is holding up
Taste: super quaffable (in a serious sense), even more then before, stronger and very clear dark cherry flavours, more spiciness (kind of Garrigue'ish herbs); the complexity and depth seems to expand; absolutely no trace of bitterness or other negative aging effects; as a matter effect it really tastes like a few years old and not 22 years … really great combination of stern slate impressions and super lively fruit
Nose: is getting more smokey, a bit darker, overall holding up and no change
Taste: no substantial change, maybe just like the nose a bit more smokey, less of the already mentioned fury as well, the rum pot is gone, still full of life and no indication of flattening or fatigue.
6:42 pm (the day after)
Nose: is getting a bit green, a bit mushy, more ferocity (even a bit fart'y), surely less appealingright now
Taste: compared to the nose far more appealing and still full of live, still typical Touriga Nacional flavours of bramble, blueberries, chocolate etc., slate characteristics still holding up as well, the finish seems to be a bit shorter and the “structural pressure” is weakening a bit; still very enjoyable and still really surprising and convincing
Conclusion: light, quaffable, profoundly mineral and nicely fruitful, spicy, lively and clear red blend from Dao region. A really big surprise! This surprise might have influenced my over enthusiastic descriptions. I suppose I should curb it a bit … naa, I don't want to: most definitely a very decent ***** stunner!