Vertente means ‘the slope of a hill’ … at which there are always several ways to look. The innovation alluded to is Dirk’s use of temperature controlled stainless steel lagares, in which the wine is trodden and fermented before 16 months in oak – tradition both retained and tweaked. The extraction is gentle, to promote delicacy. The fruit is a selection of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Tinta Amarela from 60yo vines.
Vertente has red berry fruit run through by smoky-ashy Douro schist aromas. There’s game, husky-nuttiness, and back notes of cola, cold tea and briar. The palate has good volume of sweet fleshy fruit and cleansing-dry tea-like fruit tannins. Very subtle oak is tucked well in. Overall, it’s a lively, fresh wine of just about midweight - a calm, fine and refined expression of Douro red berry earthiness.