Herdade do Mouchao Tinto 2011
The 2011 Herdade do Mouchao Tinto displays classic Mouchão personality. hugely concentrated yet soft. Dark fruit, cocoa, eucalyptus, mint and some ground sweet pepper. A wine drinking beautifully now, but likely to improve for up to two decades.
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The 2011 Tinto, i.e., the flagship Estate wine with just "Mouchão" on the label, is the typical blend of Alicante Bouschet and Trincadeira aged for 24 months in oak. It comes in at 14% alcohol. A bit funky on opening, it has a touch of green olive followed by a lot of oak flavor. This big boy is also tightly wound, rather intense on the finish in both flavor and power, and desperately in need of more time in the bottle. It shows beautiful mid-palate finesse and laser-like precision, good acidity and plenty of grip on that lingering finish. If the Trincadeira (from which, I suspect, some of the funk comes) stays in control, this has the chance to become rather brilliant, perhaps even more so than I now think. Give it some time, though. You don't want to drink this today. It should be a lot more harmonious and expressive around 2020. Granting that there is some projection here for its potential, I have to lean up on this just now.
Responsible for a majority of Portugal’s fine wine production—and over half of the world’s cork production—Alentejo represents a major force in Portugal’s wine industry. This southern Portugese region is characterized by stretches of rolling plains and vineyards dotted with majestic cork oaks. Access to land enables the farmers of Alentejo to produce wines in great economies of scale, without compromising quality, compared to those regions to the north. The region of Alentejo indeed covers a third of the country.
Its classified (DOP) wines must come from one of eight subregions, where elevations are a bit higher, air cooler and less fertile soils are perfect for vines. The optimal regions are Portalegre, Borba, Redondo, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Granja-Amareleja, Vidigueira, Evora and Moura. Alentejo is not without the conveniences of modern winemaking as well. Irrigation supplements low rainfall and temperature control in the winery assures high quality wines.
The potential of the area has attracted many producers and its wine production continues to grow. Alentejo’s charming, fruit-forward wines have naturally led to local and global popularity.
White wines tend to be blends of Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Arinto. However, in growing proportions, the white grapes Verdelho, Alvarinho and Viognier have been enjoying success. But red varieties actually exceed whites in Alentejo. Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Castelão grapes blend well together and are responsible for most of the Alentejo reds.
The most famous of the rare, red-fleshed grape varieties, Alicante Bouschet is known as a Teinturier grape. While most red grapes have red skin but clear flesh or pulp, the French, Alicante Bouschet and the Georgian (country) variety called, Saperavi, both have red. These make intensely hued, full-bodied red wines that take to oak well and can stand some time in the cellar. Somm Secret—While originally the product of a French crossing (Petit Bouschet and Grenache) of the late 1800s, today Alicante Bouchet grows widely in Spain and is gaining notoriety in Portugal.