Quinta do Crasto may make the best dry red wines in all of Portugal. The winemakers are Dominic Morris and Manuel Lobo.
This wine is made from as many as 30 different grape varietals, and many of the grapes are foot-crushed. It is aged in American and French barrels and is bottled without fining* or filtration. They made 6000 cases of the 2004 - rated 94 by Mark Squires in the Wine Advocate.
Mark also indicated this is an excellent wine year-in, year-out. Quinta do Crasto is located "on the right bank of the river Douro, halfway between Régua and Pinhão. The quinta covers 130 hectares, of which 70 are planted with grade “A” vineyards."
Quinta do Crasto also makes many other wines. The Reserva Old Vines (Vinhas Velhas) is their medium-high end wine. Above it are the single varietals and single vineyard wines - these go for $75-$130 or more. They are scarce in the US - I've never seen a bottle. They also make port, including Late Bottled Vintage and Vintage Port.
The winery's name is sometimes misspelled as Quinto do Crasto - keep this in mind if you search for their wines on the web.
*Note: This is surprising as our bottle had not a hint of sediment.
Joanne's Tasting Note: Closed nose, hinting at tobacco and black cherry, with a touch of anise underlying. A dusty nose, too, like dusty stone.
This is a heavy, structured wine with a lot of concentration and great acids to provide balance. The center is hard.
The finish leaves notes of tobacco, leather and a slight hint of sweet black cherry downplaying the fruit. It's tight right now, with distinct stone and mineral elements.
Jack adds: The nose isn't showing much of anything. Even though this wine does not smell or taste like a Bordeaux blend, it still has similar characteristics.
It is surprisingly smooth, has soft tannins, pleasing clean fruit and perfect acidity. I also get just the slightest hint of sweetness. Although it is quite drinkable now (well, with heavy decanting), I'd age this wine 3-5 more years before retasting.
Three days later the wine opened up even more, improving in taste and complexity. At $35, this is a truly excellent value and worth buying to drink in 3-12 years or more. 3-5+