Sarah Ahmed on thewinedetective.co.uk, 26/10/15: "I like this vintage – upfront yet elegant and, if you’re looking for elegance in the Douro, Jorge Moreira always delivers, even for this entry level red. Nice length and concentration to its juicy plum fruit with an exotic lift of crushed coriander seed spice. The whole is well framed by ripe but present tannins. It is a blend of 30% Touriga Nacional with Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz."
Quinta de la Rosa is a family owned winery which started life as a christening present for Claire Feuerheerd in 1906. The Feuerheerd family had been making port since 1815, the company being sold in the 1930s. Claire kept hold of La Rosa, however, and following her death in the 1970s, control passed to her son, Tim Bergqvist. The Quinta's grapes were being sold to Sandeman's at the time, while Tim ran a successful wood pulp company, but he was well aware of the high quality of his grapes. Aided by subsidies available in the wake of Portugal's entry into the EU, Tim sold the pulp mill and set up the winery in 1987, the first Port vintage being produced in 1988. In the early 1990s La Rosa was one of the first Portuguese wineries to produce table wine commercially, its early customers including Quaglino's restaurant and Berry Brothers and Rudd. It is now in the hands of Claire Feuerheerd's grand-daughter, Sophia Bergqvist.
The Douro region is mountainous and quite spectacular, with wildly differing aspects and altitudes offering vinous possibilities which still have not been fully explored. In keeping with the character of the area, La Rosa's estate vineyards are planted on terraces built into the often dizzyingly steep banks of the river.
The 2011 vintage followed a particularly wet winter and a remarkably hot spring and summer, which led to a huge amount of growth in the vineyard and one of the earliest vintages ever. Picking started on the 9th August and continued sporadically until late September, allowing each vineyard to be picked at its ideal level of ripeness.
Jorge Moreira graduated in Oenology at Vila Real University in 1995, and undertook further studying and training in Italy. He worked for seven years at Real Companhia Velha, with involvement in the establishment of its Fine Wine Division. He acquainted himself with Portugal's various regions and took part in wine fairs the world over, meeting as many winemakers and trying as many wines as possible. He bought a small Douro vineyard in 2001 to make his own (Poeira) and in 2002 became Head of Oenology at Quinta de la Rosa. At La Rosa he has supervised improvements and investments in each vineyard, and he has also undertaken a joint venture with the Bergqvist family, called Passgagem.
Following an early harvest, Dourosa was fermented in stainless steel vats at temperatures low enough to maintain fruit and freshness. Cherry and cassis aromas are met by cedar and spice on the palate; bright and fresh with a full body and a balanced structure of tannin and acidity. It could be chilled a little to match with lighter foods, or it could be drunk at room temperature to go with hearty dishes such as sausage casserole.