NV Quinta da Casa Amarela White

Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
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Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
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JacobH
Taylor Quinta de Vargellas 1987
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NV Quinta Casa Amarela White Port

Post by JacobH » 20:24 Sun 13 Jun 2010

I’ve had this bottle for a while, but have only just taken the chance to open it, because the weather seemed to suggest that something a little chilled might be a nice idea.

Casa Amarela is not a shipper I know well; the only other Port I have drunk from them is their Ruby Reserve which is fabulous and by a long way the best example of this Port I’ve drunk. I therefore had high hopes for this, despite its colour.

It comes in a 50cl clear glass bottle with a cute half-size driven cork. I opened and poured straight away so this is at cellar temperature rather than properly chilled.

The colour is nice; between the darkest straw and the lightest caramel. The nose is also attractive (especially for a white Port). There is quite a lot of fruit; the inevitable lychees and a touch of orange, along with some sweetness that made me think this might not be a dry white. However, at the back of the nose there is something unsettling; a slight chemical smell attached to a lot of alcohol.

I put the glass to my lips and disaster strikes. :cry: There is an immediate surge of alcohol. It feels like I am drinking the cheapest brandy or whisk(e)y. With no sugar (for this is a dry Port), my mouth struggles to find something attractive to latch hold of. The lychee comes eventually, along with some lavender, but this immediately disappears and is replaced by a nasty bitter chemical after-taste. I feel like I am gagging; the alcohol is so strong I can’t believe this is 19% and so milder than normal Port. The bitterness makes me wonder (or, rather, hope) if this is a flawed bottle, but flawed by what I don’t know.

This is truly appalling. I only hope that with time and being cooled it will become drinkable. At the moment, this has probably surpassed C. Da Silva’s Amilar as the worst non-flawed Port I have drunk. I am not sure I would like to try it in a Port tonic.

How this can be so bad when the Ruby is so good is a mystery. A huge disappointment :cry:
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JacobH
Taylor Quinta de Vargellas 1987
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Re: N/V Quinta Casa Amarela White Port

Post by JacobH » 20:49 Sun 13 Jun 2010

Because I couldn’t bring myself to drink more than the three sips I took to write this tasting note, I decided to experiment to improve this wine.

The first strategy is to dissolve half a tea-spoon of icing sugar in the Port and give it a good stir. This has the detrimental effect of making the Port cloudy. Positively, though, it nicely sorts out this horrible surge of alcohol that you get on first tasting this wine. This reinforces by belief that if the first duty of Port is to be red and the second is to be sweet, white Port can survive if it can achieve at least one.

It is now pleasant apart from the burnt-plastic after-taste. Any views as to how I can remove that?
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RonnieRoots
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Re: N/V Quinta Casa Amarela White Port

Post by RonnieRoots » 20:59 Sun 13 Jun 2010

A pity this is showing so bad. It is actually not a bad port normally. Casa Amarela is one of the producers who is proud to be producing a quality white. And it is not completely dry either, more in a sort of off-dry style. My main criticism on this port is that it is too expensive (at least, it used to be a couple of years ago, I don't know how that is now).

That said, the last bottle I tried of this, was bad as well. It was in a restaurant in Porto, but there it had the excuse of being open too long. Maybe your bottle proves that this port either can't stand being in bottle for some time or that there's is a major inconsistency issue. Neither is particularly reassuring.

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JacobH
Taylor Quinta de Vargellas 1987
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Re: N/V Quinta Casa Amarela White Port

Post by JacobH » 21:26 Sun 13 Jun 2010

RonnieRoots wrote:A pity this is showing so bad. It is actually not a bad port normally. Casa Amarela is one of the producers who is proud to be producing a quality white. And it is not completely dry either, more in a sort of off-dry style. My main criticism on this port is that it is too expensive (at least, it used to be a couple of years ago, I don't know how that is now).
I think this was £12 for 50cl which I suppose is on the pricey side but about what we have to pay here for Single Quinta wines from the smaller independents.
RonnieRoots wrote:That said, the last bottle I tried of this, was bad as well. It was in a restaurant in Porto, but there it had the excuse of being open too long. Maybe your bottle proves that this port either can't stand being in bottle for some time or that there's is a major inconsistency issue. Neither is particularly reassuring.
I wonder if bottle time is the problem, though I think I’ve only had this one 6 or 7 months so it can’t be much more than a year old. As will all flawed bottles the question is: is it worth buying another to see if it improves or not? :?
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