I have undoubtedly drunk Moscatel do Douro before, but I must have thought they were either Douro DOC wines or varietal white Ports, because it came as a bit of a surprise to discover that it has its own DOC. The wines are made from at least 85% Moscatel Galego Branco (AKA Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains), and have their fermentation stopped by fortification to at least 16%, but typically less than Port. The wines described below were brought back from the Douro by a friend, and offered for tasting at my local wine group.
The parish of Favaios lies roughly 10km to the North of Pinão, in the Cima Corgo region of the Douro, and Adega de Favaios is a coop winery located there. It is probably best known for its range of Muscats, but does also make other wines.
Adega de Favaios, 10 year old, 17.0%, 75cl, €15 in Portugal, £28.00 from a UK merchant
Blend of different vintages with an average age of 10 years. Medium pale tawny colour. Smells a bit cheesy, something I also tend to notice on cheaper Madeiras. It is something I dislike, but does not seem to bother many other people; friends round the table found this wine more agreeable than I did. Vague caramel. Medium low acid. Sweet, but not as lusciously sweet as some wines. Drink now. Maybe OK at the Portuguese price, but no way would I pay £28. Just about scrapes ***
Adega de Favaios, Colheita 1999, 18.5%, 75cl, €30 in Portugal
Wine of a single vintage, and quite a bit older than the 10yo. Very similar in the basic dimensions, but this is a lot more elegant and classy, with a figgy caramel nature that is both intense and fresh. Dread to think how much this would cost in the UK if it were available here ****
The producer Fragulio is also from the area just North of Pinão but, unlike Adega de Favaios, it is a family run business, and this is its only Moscatel.
Fragulho, Reserva, DOC, 2010, 19.0%, 37.5cl; €15
Note that the quoted price is for a half bottle, so volume for volume it costs the same as the Favaios colheita wine. Pale amber. Intense, fresh, and I think drier than the other Moscatels tried this evening. A bit sharper too, with medium acidity. Aromatic and grapey, with Muscat varietal typicity. Finishes dry. Drink now ****
So not wines that I will be dashing out to buy, but it was interesting to try a few side by side. However, nothing much wrong with them though, and others were a lot more positive than me. I am a lot more fussy about sweet wines than I am with other styles, tending to favour those that achieve balance through extremes of acidity and sweetness – unlike these wines, which were more moderate in both respects.