2019 Quinta do Javali, Clos Fonte do Santo, Cherry Tree Vineyard, Douro Tinto, Portugal.
The brightly fresh and lightly hued Douro Tinto Clos Fonte do Santo “Cherry Tree Vineyard by Quinta do Javali is a naturally styled and handcrafted wine with tangy strawberry, red currant, cherry and plum fruits, along with a core of mineral tones, delicate florals, racy acidity and lots of spicy kick. There’s hints of wild herbs, mint, cinnamon and peppery notes, crushed geraniums and dried orange peel as well here, but almost no oak influence and a bit of sultry earthiness that makes it polar opposite some more dense and oak driven wines that come from the region, plus it should be noted that even Javali’s 10 Year Tawny Port is fresh, with a lighter ruby hue and sublime delicacy. I had not had any of the Qunta do Javali prior to this wine and the mentioned Tawny, which I had to try after dinner, and I was left very impressed, those teaching for unique natural wines should definitely look for this one. The grapes for this wine were hand tended and harvested, after which they undergoes a spontaneous fermentation in inox tanks, stainless steel with around 50% whole bunch (cluster) fermentation, allowing for the semi-carbonic juiciness and pop. Following a gentle press, the winery says, that wine is aged in used (neutral) 500L French oak puncheons, which explains the clarity and authentic character here.

The winery says, the “cherry tree vineyard” is the highest altitude plot of vines at their “Clos fonte do Santo” lieu-dit with maybe 33 different grape varietals co-planted within the site. The vines here, they continue, are approximately 90 years old and the vineyard is located in the village of Ervedosa do Douro. As with all of the Quinta do Javali vineyards, it is farmed using all sustainable and organic/biodynamic practices, and in keeping with traditional methods, in the Douro Valley, this vineyard features a field blend of only native Portuguese indigenous grape varieties, but leaning heavily on the classic Port grapes, and Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cao, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Franca. This steep hillside location vineyard is set on schist soils, is up at between 600 to 750 meters and faces northeast, which provides bring swings in day and night temps and adds to the cooling influences that make for retaining good freshness, acidity and balance, as this Clos Fonte do Santo shows. So with low sulfur and meant to be drunk young, it is best to get at this wine in short order as you can already see a light hint of oxidization, though it won’t stop you from enjoying this intriguing Douro Tinto and I loved it with food, including A Scallop Wellington and ultra fresh beef Tartare with lemon, capers and fingerling potato chips. I must thank the team at Cella Restaurant in old town Monterey and especially Bernie de Luna, who found this wine and surprised us with it and the taste of the Quinta do Javali Ten Year Tawny, which was a thrill too!
($32 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

By admin