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A sweetly fruited, powerful red from Portugal's Upper Douro, where hot dry conditions are tempered by the refreshing effect of altitude. The voluptuous body here is enhanced by 12 months in French oak.
Product Code: PW6961
View all products by Quinta do Crasto
This Douro estate has belonged to the family of Leonor and Jorge Roquette for over a century, but it dates back much further: the word ‘crasto’ comes from the Latin ‘castrum’, meaning Roman fort, and there are records of this estate as early as 1615.Husband and wife Jorge and Leonor have been in charge since the 1980s, and their sons Miguel and Tomás are now involved as well. Together they manage 70 hectares of vineyards on the right bank of the Douro river, which lay on terraces of schist soils. Most of the vines are over 20 years old, but the oldest date back over 100 years, and their grapes go to make up a special bottling under the Reserva Old Vines label.The grapes are local Douro varieties, including tinta roriz, touriga nacional, touriga franca and tinta barocca for the reds, and gouveio, roupeiro and rabigato for the whites.Investment in recent years has seen important updates both to vineyard organisation and winery technology – although the team still proudly upholds the tradition of crushing some of the grapes by foot in granite lagares! On the whole, however, much more modern techniques are used, with wines fermented and matured in a variety of temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks for a fresher, fruitier style.The estate is a popular wine tourism attraction, helped in part by its stunning swimming pool with panoramic views of the vineyards, and offers a variety of activities for visiting oenophiles.
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card. Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced. Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties. Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
Early tastings suggested much to look forward to from Portugal’s 2015 vintage, not least an excellent vintage in the Minho (Vinho Verde country), which naturally produces a light and fragrant, appetising style that seems perfectly suited to today’s palate. And so it has proved.By and large the climate in Portugal is warm so the best years deliver ripeness tempered by freshness. This is easier to achieve in the coastal regions (Vinho Verde, Bairrada and Lisboa for example) and higher/protected, more continental regions (Dão, north-eastern Alentejo and eastern Beiras). That said, it looks like a very good vintage in the Douro too, promising for the red wines even if it does not ultimately make the grade of a vintage port release year.
"Excellent, rich, fruity and low acid. Right now it is just as good as the Crasto Vinhas Velhas Reserva Douro 2015 old vines at £22.50. Although I did not try them on the same day."
I would recommend this wine
"Had a bottle of this last night great it was and even better when you take the price into account, highly recommended."
I would recommend this wine
"Lovely balanced wine. Initial red cherry fruit reminiscent of Southern Rhône. Smokey finish with the oak giving a lovely warm finish. Very nice indeed. "
"Deep red colour with a lovely, slightly smokey, nose. Very full flavour, balanced and is lovely with food."
"Excellent, rich, fruity and low acid. Right now it is just as good as the Crasto Vinhas Velhas Reserva Douro 2015 old vines at £22.50. Although I did not try them on the same day."
There are no press reviews for this product.
"Nice and fruity but with a touch of acid on the way down. I recommend you spend an extra £4.75 and get the Crasto Superior Douro 2015 for £14.50, which is an excellent wine. But for the price this one is as good as many and better than some more expensive reds."
Mr Ronald Chalmers (05-Nov-2018)
"This has long been a favourite wine of mine and this did not disappoint. Lovely colour and deep flavour of berries with balanced tannins. Perhaps another year in the bottle would make it even better."
Mr Richard W Taylor (08-Sep-2018)
"Rich, dark fruits flavours with a hint of cherries and quite full bodied. The aroma is gorgeous and quite strong. The taste, whilst very pleasant, doesn't quite live up to the promise of the nose. Firm tannins but balanced. Price vs quality and enjoyment about right to my mind. "
Mr John Lay (19-Jul-2018)
"This has a rich base of damsons, morello cherries and chocolate. The tannin is composed and managed, making this quite approachable. Will be gorgeous with roasts or summer barbecues - if you want a bit of quality!! We loved it with a lasagne and rosemary roast potatoes. It could also be drug instead of a Rioja or Bordeaux 14/20 on the Parsons' Scale!!"
Mr Robert M Parsons (26-May-2018)
"A pretty good price for a Douro. Not over powerful. Worked well with sea bass stuffed with tomatoes and olives."
Mr Richard Hadfield (08-May-2018)
"Not quite as 'big' as I thought it may be. Nice wine though."
Mr James Roberts (07-May-2018)
"Deep red/black inky colour. Very well structured with a long lingering finish. Great with cheese but don’t be put off as it’s equally as good on its own. Suspect it would work well with lamb/beef/steak
Couldn’t find this wine at less than £13 from others...so great value from WS again
It’s a definite recommendation"
Mr Tom Rodger (02-Mar-2018)
"A lovely, drinkable wine. We have steered away from the cheaper end of the Portugese wine lists in the past but decided to give this a try.
A deep flavour with a nice long finish. Drink on it's own or with meat, delicious.
We have re-ordered and would recommend it."
Mr Russ Barton (24-Feb-2018)
"Having found many good wines from Portugal I added this and another at the £9.50 price point to round up an order. We drank it with friends over a late lunch of spicy lamb which it complemented very well. Nicely rounded and with enough body to cope with strong food flavours, generously fruity but not excessively so.
If I'd had a second bottle I'm sure it would have been cracked open too. It's in my Wish List already so looking forward to ordering some more. Good value."
Mr John Tidy (09-Feb-2018)
"This went down a storm at a recent dinner party. V smooth with raspberry and dark cherry flavours and a good depth that lingers. Will definitely order more ."
Mr Symon Dungey (14-Jan-2018)
"Very pleasant indeed, particularly on its own. Will be ordering again."
Mr Ray Mount (27-Dec-2017)
"Chocolate and cherry. Not too shabby"
Mr Paul Darwin (13-Apr-2017)
Chase Magazine (2nd Oct 2017)
"Rich and velvety with a nice floral nose. - David Clay"
Lancashire Evening Post (24th Apr 2017)
"Intensely fruity with
blackberry and raspberry aromas which burst out as delicious ripe flavours on
the palate. Plenty of silky tannins to work with food. - Colin Burbidge"
"Very nice rounded rich ripe with blackberry notes.Excellent with food.9/10"
Mr Andrew Swann (23-Nov-2014)
"The 2011 was excellent, just the right balance of structure, oak and fruit. Hope the 2012 is as good."
Mr John Pilsbury (15-Nov-2014)
Sunday Express (1st Mar 2015)
"This is a superb wine
for the money, offering sleek, ripe, black-cherry and blackberry fruit with a
lovely texture. It’s made by Quinta Do Crasto, one of the most acclaimed
wineries in northern Portugal’s Douro Valley, and would be great served with lamb and dates. - Jamie Goode"
JancisRobinson.com (13th Mar 2014)
"Spicy, energetic. A
tad 'modern'. But it could not come from anywhere else. Dry finish. - Jancis Robinson"
"Putting together a Portuguese wine tasting here in Florida the crasto will feature. A delightful full bodied wine which should make the locals appreciate wine from a great country."
Mr Peter Humphrey (12-Jan-2014)
"Enjoyed a bottle of this last night with steak and chips. The only problem was there was only one bottle! Beautifully smooth but also good depth of flavour. The embossed label has style too :-)"
Dr Stuart R Hutchison (04-Dec-2013)
Sunday Express (9th Feb 2014)
"Here's a brilliant,
rich but supple red at a great price. From Portugal's spectacular Douro region,
it's bursting with sweet, smooth, black-cherry and blackberry fruits. - Jamie Goode"
Decanter (8th Jan 2014)
"From one of the
Douro's greatest producers and a melange of indigenous varieties, this is dense
and herb-infused, with dark fruit and an appealing wild streak. It is lifted on
the palate with red fruits making an appearance, bolstered by notes of spice, charcoal
and minerals. - Weekday Wines"
Woman & Home (4th Oct 2013)
"A key member of a
dynamic group called the Douro Boys, this sleek, scented, sensitively oaked red
is soft and ripe, with sweet spicy clove and blackberry fruit intensity, and a
long finish. - Tim Atkin"
The Daily Telegraph (14th Sep 2013)
This Douro red is consistently good and always popular when
I show it at tastings. Rich, soft and spicy enough to please those who like big
reds but bright and tannic enough to satisfy the old guard too, it’s a welcome
all-rounder to take you into autumn. Technically speaking a blend of Tinta
Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca, but more simply
classified as a happy wine.
- Victoria Moore
The Times (2nd Mar 2013)
"Dating back to 1615, Crasto makes a range of seductive wines. Even this humble red delivers sensational, herby, spiced sloe and damson fruit. - Jane MacQuitty"
"I'm not a fan of this wine. It tastes a great deal like port but watered down. I love port and I like water but not in the same glass. I can see that others might like it."
Dr Brock Chisholm (24-Sep-2012)
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We do moderate comments and reviews, purely to ensure that content published on The Wine Society's website is of value to members, and is fair and balanced. We're delighted to say that in the vast, vast majority of cases, our members' input is just that! We will normally approve comments for publication as long as they:
If a review or comment does not meet the rules above, then we may remove it from the site, and we reserve the right to do so at any time. Where we choose not to publish a rating, comment or review for a reason other than those listed here, we will reply to the member concerned by e-mail explaining our reasons and inviting them to make appropriate changes so that their input can be reconsidered. We also reserve the right not to publish reviews that mention other wine merchants and competitors.
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The Society's wine buyers work very closely with our suppliers to determine how best to seal our wines. We list below those closures currently in use with a brief description of each.
A technical cork made up of the remnants from the production of natural corks which are ground down into particles and cleaned and then combined using a food-grade polyurethane glue. A cheaper closure which The Society's buyers discourage suppliers from using.
A technical cork made from cheaper-grade natural cork where the naturally occurring pores are filled with ground down cork particles and then the whole is sealed with a food-grade wax coating. Generally only used for wines with a short shelf-life.
Diam corks look like agglomerate corks but are far superior and are designed to put an end to cork taint and random oxidation. The production process chops cork into pieces and sorts the superior, highly elastic, suberin component from the less elastic lignin, which is discarded. It mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing porosity to air and increasing elasticity without introducing humidity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. The mechanical properties of the cork are guaranteed for a certain minimum number of years depending on the grade of cork - for example Diam 2 is guaranteed for two years; Diam 3, 5 and 10 are also available.
The Champagne cork is 90% agglomerate made from cork off-cuts which are ground down, cleaned, compressed and then glued together with two disks of good quality natural cork glued onto the end which protrudes into the bottle.
Natural corks harvested from the cork oak (Quercus suber) forests in Spain and Portugal have been the closure of choice for wine for the 300 years. The bark of the cork oak is stripped from mature trees every nine years. The planks are stored and then cleaned and graded before the corks are punched out of the wood. For wines destined for long-ageing, high-grade natural corks are still the closure of choice.
Cost-effective synthetic 'corks' made from food-grade plastic with a silicone coating (similar to that used on natural corks). Generally used for wines for short-term cellaring.
A glass stopper with a plastic 'O' ring which acts as an interface between the top of the bottle and the stopper, held in place by a metal, tamper-proof seal. Relatively expensive as a closure and not widely used. Can be removed by hand.
A short natural or agglomerate cork with a plastic or wooden top to enable the stopper to be removed by hand. Traditionally used for whiskies, sherries, Madeira etc.
Aluminium alloy screwcaps made with an expanded polyethylene wadding for the lining. Screwcaps are also known as ROTEs (roll-on tamper evident) or by the brand name (Stelvin is a popular brand). Widely used in Australia and New Zealand and for wines for short-term cellaring. Becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of allowing differing levels of permeability so mimicking the properties of natural cork offering winemakers more choice depending of the style of wine being made. There is still a lack of sound data regarding the performance of screwcaps for longer-term cellaring.
This is an agglomerate cork with a disk of good-quality natural cork adhered to both ends. A reasonably priced, reliable alternative to natural cork.
This is the metal pilfer-proof cap usually used to seal beer bottles but also used in the production of Champagne and sparkling wine when wines are stored under crown cap before the dosage is added. A few producers use crown caps to seal wine bottles. Open with a standard bottle opener.
Jamie Goode has written an excellent book on the subject of closures for those wishing to find out more (Wine Bottle Closures, Flavour Press).
The Society includes the alcohol by volume percentage figure for each wine available online, in Lists and offers.
Alcohol by volume%
Units per standard bottle
It is generally accepted that alcohol levels in wine have been increasing in the last 20 years. There are many reasons why, but the single most important factor is the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which have resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested. Alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes and the best-quality wines are made from grapes that have reached physiological ripeness (colour, flavour and tannin), and this generally happens after sugar ripeness.
There are several techniques that can be used to reduce alcohol levels but currently most are intrusive and strip flavour as well as alcohol and we don't buy wines made in this way. In actual fact, more than half of our still table wines have an abv of 13% or less. Members looking to choose wines with lower levels of alcohol can now search our range by level of alcohol.
Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's main components of sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Members should refer to the wine's tasting note for a description of the style and fullness of the wine.
The Society is committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of wines and spirits by providing relevant information to our members that allows them to make their own informed choices. An additional figure is beginning to be used on labels: the number of (UK) units of alcohol contained in that bottle. This is simply the alcohol by volume percentage multiplied by the content. Thus a 13% wine in a standard 75cl bottle will have 9.7 units of alcohol. All new labels of Society and Exhibition wines will include this information. drinkaware.co.uk
The Society's buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to pop the cork. As a general rule, most everyday white wines are best enjoyed within a year of purchase, and most everyday reds within two years. Certain fine wines, however, those with the right structure and balance, have the ability to evolve over time and gain complexity and finer nuances of flavour.
If the product page says:
...then our advice would be:
Should be drunk over the coming months, certainly within the year.
Ready to drink now but will keep until the year shown.
We recommend keeping longer before opening. For example, a wine will be ready to drink in 2020 but still young and will keep until 2042. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening drink date to the last to watch the wine evolve.
Within one year of purchase
A non-vintage wine that should be drunk within 12 months.
Within two years of purchase
A non-vintage wine that is ready now but will keep for two years.
Savouring the wonderfully complex and intense bouquet and flavour of a wine drank at its peak is undoubtedly one of life's greatest pleasures. As with people, the ageing process will vary from wine to wine. Over the years the wine's primary aromas of fresh fruit will develop more complicated and persistent secondary and tertiary aromas. The fruity flavours of, for example, a premier cru white Burgundy will, over time, evolve buttery, toasty and yeast aromas, or fine reds may develop coffee, cedar, tobacco, vegetal, or even 'animal' flavours as they age.
There is much pleasure to be had by experimenting with bottles at different stages of maturity; finding out how a wine evolves with age and, perhaps more importantly, establishing your own preference in terms of taste for mature wine are all part of the interest and excitement of cellaring wine.
The drinking window we provide is a guide to when the wines will be at their best. Many will favour the wines in the youthful early stages of their development; others will enjoy the wines at their most mature.
Decanting is a useful way of softening the tannins, rounding out the flavours and releasing the potential of a young wine. To find out more please visit our Serving Wine guide.
The Society's purpose-built, temperature-controlled Members' Reserves offers members access to optimum storage conditions for their wines.
For more help and advice about how best to enjoy your wines contact us via our enquiry form.
Oak plays a very important role in the production of wine throughout the world. However, the level of oak detectible in a wine can vary depending on a number of factors – for example, the age and size of the barrel and the type of oak used, as well as the length of time the wine is aged in wood. Oak also influences the structure and tannins of the final wine. For wines on our website, we use the following classifications:
This suggests that a wine has either seen no oak at all, or may have been produced using very large, old oak barrels, resulting in a wine that has no taste of oak. Expect these wines to be crisp, fruit-forward and aromatic.
Some oak has been used in the production, yet it has not been a defining factor in the style of the wine. In this instance, the oak may have played more of a part in the structure of the wine but there will still be discreet flavours associated with the use of new oak.
Wines that are defined by and known for their use of new oak. This must not be confused with a wine which is 'overly oaky' as that would purely be down to bad winemaking! We buy only wines that, we believe, use oak in a balanced and appealing way, enhancing flavour and complexity, and/or imparting structure.
How detectable oak is depends a good deal on the size of the barrel and how new it is. New oak provides a much more evident flavour and aroma and must be used carefully. The size of the barrel is important, as the smaller the barrel, the more surface area of the wine is in contact with the wood and the more flavour will be drawn out. Often, very large old oak barrels are used, which impart little or no oak flavour to the wine at all. They will still bring an extra dynamic to the final taste of a wine though, when compared to stainless steel or concrete vessels, as oak is porous and therefore lets a small amount of air into the barrel. This controlled oxidation has a positive effect on wines, softening the tannins and developing secondary flavours, all helping to add a complexity which comes with age.
There are many ways that people rate wines, whether it is on the 100 or 20 point scales, 5 stars, 3 glasses or simply thumbs up or down. The pleasure of a bottle of wine is hard to express in figures, but it does help give the memory of that wine a context, and a way of sharing your opinion with others.
In response to members' requests we have added a star rating option to the site so you can mark your favourites, or maybe those occasional less-than-welcome experiences, and make your next order easier.
You can use the 5-star rating tool to record your experiences however you wish, but if you are looking for some guidance we believe that a focus on the 'value' of the wine takes into account the quality but also the pleasure it provided, and whether it is something you would recommend to friends.