I tasted these in the order they are listed at the London International Wine Trade Fair. The conditions for tasting are far from ideal at this event so my notes are scribbled first impressions.
Croft Quinta da Roeda 2008 **
Mid-deep in colour; closed or perhaps rather hollow on the nose; quite light on the palate, simple, soft, sweet and early maturing. Not really a very impressive debut for 2008. 13.5
Fonseca Quinta do Panascal 2008 16.5 *** / ****
Deep in colour; fragrant, floral, still open with lovely, vibrant spicy fruit on the palate and good ripe tannic grip, not a big wine but very charming, for drinking in 8-10 years. 4,000 cases made. 16.5
Fonseca Guimaraens 2008 ****
Deep in colour, closed, refined, lovely dense, fine grained tannins rising in the mouth, some power and concentration here, quite rich with good, solid tannic length. A keeper: drink in 15 – 20 years. 2,000 cases. 17.
Taylor Quinta de Vargellas 2008 ***
Quite deep in colour; rich, plumy aromas, suave and quite opulent in style (lighter than the Fonseca – Guimareans), soft, plumy and sweet mid-palate with firm tannic length. A wine for the medium-term: 10 years plus. 4,000 cases (there was no Vinha Velha declared in 2008). 15.5
Taylor Quinta da Terra Feita 2008 ****
Very deep in colour; dense but overt and plummy, good definition, quite rich, sweet and plump initially with ripe, firm tannins rising in the mouth and long, firm sinewy tannic length with lovely plump fruit remaining on the finish. Impressive and a good all-rounder. 17.5
Dow, Quinta Senhora da Ribeira 2008 *** / ****
Very deep in colour; still raw on the nose, marked by spirit and needing time to come together yet floral and pure; firm, linear tannins, spicy, berry fruit, still raw and disjointed but should come together well. 16.5 + ?
Quinta do Vesúvio 2008 ****
Another very deep coloured wine; again quite raw and spirity, needing tine to come together on the nose; sweet and fleshy in style, quite opulent, succulent fruit with smooth, broad ripe tannins mid-palate and onto the finish. Will be impressive over the medium to long term. 17
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty