Robert Parker over Quinta do Monte d'Oiro

Robert Parker over Quinta do Monte d'Oiro

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Ex Aequo 2011 – 95 points

“The 2011 Ex Aequo, Syrah (75%) and Touriga Nacional (25%) is probably the best yet. This has been a steadily improving bottling, constantly on the verge of greatness. Add a terrific vintage. Start your engines. Bright and very aromatic, this is a tightly-wound Ex Aequo that has fine concentration, yet a certain elegance as well. Unevolved, despite the late release, it is still approachable if you give it some aeration. You'd be better off, however, allowing it a few years more in the cellar. In Monte d'Oiro's lineup (Bento & Chapoutier is the sister winery, a collaboration with Chapoutier), I've generally preferred the Syrah 24 as my favorite. I may have to change my mind there. Certainly, this has to go down as one of the finest Syrah-based wines I've had from Portugal. This should also age well. (For that matter, even the value-priced Lybra from Monte d'Oiro (also reviewed) holds nicely.) You can't go wrong here.”

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Reserva 2011 – 94 points

“The 2011 Reserva is a Syrah with 4% Viognier added. It was aged for 16-20 months in new French barriques (meaning that the Syrah is a blend of different plots, vinified and aged separately). It comes in at 13.5% alcohol. Well, isn't this interesting...More so than most of the Syrah-based reds submitted this issue and in the past, this has strong earthy nuances, a touch of game, a hint of barnyard and the like. It is the type of Syrah we see in the Northern Rhône a lot, with some acidity, an elegant mid-palate, plenty of power and a lot of character. It's always well balanced and it is never ponderous. It is intriguing, though, one of the winery's best Northern Rhône copycats. Still a bit tight just now, it should continue to improve with cellaring over the next few years. It may well hold better than anticipated and it may yet be entitled to an uptick.”

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Syrah 24 2012 – 93 points

“The 2012 Syrah 24 Jose Bento Dos Santos is all Syrah, aged for 18 months in French oak (40% new). It comes in at 14% alcohol. This is a nice step up on the Lybra, also reviewed, but in somewhat subtle ways. This shows more finesse and silkier texture. It dances lightly on the palate, but it always seems quite persistent. It has more power than the Lybra Syrah, also reviewed, but that intensity is still well controlled. The wine becomes nicely drinkable with an hour or so of aeration. Gripping on the finish, it has more purity of fruit, too, and that fruit flavor lingers longer. There were times after extended aeration when it seemed a bit delicate, but it is also something that will make many swoon with the sheer pleasure of drinking it. This is a beautiful 24 that likely has the ability to improve more in the cellar. It should age well, no doubt better than anticipated with good storage, but you can approach it now if you really must. My advice would still be to put it away for a few years. Let it become more expressive.”

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Madrigal 2014 – 92 points

“The 2014 Viognier Madrigal was aged for six months in a 60/40 mix of stainless steel and new French oak. It comes in at 13% alcohol. As nice as the winery's Lybra Branco is, also reviewed, this is far superior and it makes a good argument for trading up despite the big price spike. Or, buy some of each. Just use them for different moments. Full bodied--adding two or three layers of depth to the Lybra--this Madrigal nicely coats the palate. Fresh and lively, handling its oak beautifully, it then adds delicious bursts of flavor, too. You could drink this elegant Branco alone, but it has the structure and stuffing for food pairings as well. It is beautifully balanced and it should age well, too.”

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Aurius 2011 – 91 points

“The 2011 Aurius Jose Bento Dos Santos Originals is an 80/20 blend of Touriga Nacional and Syrah, aged for 14-16 months (depending on the plot, separately vinified) in French oak (30% new). It comes in at 13.5% alcohol. Fresh, lifted and graceful, this has a refined feel, a touch of cream up front and an earthy conclusion. Gorgeously constructed, it is an understated wine that is mostly about elegance, but it has notable concentration, too, plus serious grip on the finish. The fruit is very tasty as well. It is approachable now. It will be better in a year (or more) and it should age rather well, perhaps better than anticipated.”

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Lybra 2012 – 90 points

“The 2012 Lybra is a Syrah aged for approximately a year, depending on the plot, in French barriques. It comes in at 13.5% alcohol. As time marches on, this inexpensive bottling has become one of (if not the best) values in the lineup. The quality has risen, but the price is pretty stable. Showing good concentration for the level, it has nice structure as well, plus a lifted and lively feel to the fruit. The theme here is always elegance, not "big, fat fruit bomb." There is also grip on the finish and just a bit of that Syrah earthiness on the nose. I don't think this has quite as much concentration as the 2009, also reviewed, but it has a fresher feel and equally good structure. This bottling of late is making me want to lean up a little more. They have also demonstrated that they hold better than anticipated. This is new release is approachable right now, though.”

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Lybra 2009 – 90 points

“The 2009 Lybra, Monte d’Oiro’s entry-level Syrah, was aged for 15 months in second and third year French oak barriques. Every time I see this, it seems to get better. One thing I have always liked about the 2009 vintage is the lift it gave to the smaller wines. This seems very fine and full bodied for the level. Youthful and fresh, it should have lots of years left, too. I would say, though, that it is drinking very well now. That's a hint.”

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Têmpera 2012 – 90 points

“The 2012 Têmpera Jose Bento Dos Santos Originals is a Tinta Roriz aged for 14 months in new French barriques. It comes in at 13.5% alcohol. This has fine concentration for the level, plenty of power--perhaps the most aggressive in the brand this year--and fine intensity of both flavor and power on the finish. Of late, this bottling has been on a roll, taking its place with the Syrah-based wines for which the winery is better known. It should be approachable young, but there is a touch of astringency on opening. It will surely show better in a year or two. It should hold well over the next decade, at the least.”

QUINTA DO MONTE D’OIRO Lybra White 2014 – 89 points

“The 2014 Branco Lybra is an unoaked blend of 50% Viognier, 35% Arinto and 15% Marsanne. This shows very nicely this year, a nice value in the lineup. Fresh and somewhat aromatic, it has a hint of flint, respectable fullness on the palate for this level, and nice persistence and flavor on the finish. It drinks well and it may hold better than I think. That said, it's meant to be drunk fresh, so dive in. The fine fruit flavor and lively feel is what makes it so appealing right now. It will be great this summer.”

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