Decanter

A taste of Alentejo: six benchmark wines to try

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Susana Esteban, Procura Na Anfora, Alentejano 2018 95

£24 The Solent Cellar

Sourced from an 85-year-old field blend Portalegre vineyard at 700m, this unusually suave, elegant amphora-fermented wine was fermented without skin contact and with temperatur­e control. The mineralsla­ked palate reveals sappy herbal pops of angelica and fennel seed, with subtly sweet, sunny, rounded mandarin and contrapunt­al grapefruit pith and juice. Fleet of foot, yet great staying power. Lovely mouthfeel. Drink 2021-2025 Alcohol 12.5%

Howard’s Folly, Sonhador Rosé, Alentejano 2019 92

£20.40 Pull the Cork

Dry rosé with good palate weight and intensity, balanced by crisp acidity. Gently spicy redcurrant and cranberry fruit with perfumed nectarine, cedar and savoury, textural lees. Handpicked, bunch-sorted Portalegre-sourced fruit was fermented and aged for four months on fine lees with batonnage. Moreish. Very well done. Drink 2021-2023 Alc 14%

Dona Maria Wines, Júlio B Bastos Alicante Bouschet 2015 97

N/A UK www.donamaria.pt

With exemplary tannins, this inky, perfumed Alicante Bouschet was sourced from 80-year-old Estremoz vines on clay/limestone, foot-trodden in marble lagares and aged in new French oak. Absorbing the oak with aplomb, the concentrat­ed but fresh black fruit and lifted layers of spice, tobacco, stewed mint and cedar oak fly. Great vigour with poise, the finish long, retro-nasal and gravelly. Drink 2021-2030 Alc 13.5%

Rocim, Olho de Mocho Single Vineyard Reserva Tinto, Alentejano 2017 95

£25.25 (2018) Bar Douro

This single-vineyard blend from schist and granite soils over-delivers, with a feast of flavours – flowers, blackberry, dried vine fruits and meaty leather and charry oak undertones. Intensely juicy blackberry propels the palate, pushing out a lingering, intense finish, with china ink tannins and leafy tobacco and gravel detail. Drink 2021-2027 Alc 14%

Cabeças do Reguengo, Respiro Clarete, Alentejano 2018 93

£25 The Vineyard Ramsbottom

A field blend of 14 white and red grapes from centennial Portalegre vineyards, this pale ruby vin de soif sings, with ethereal white pepper, sandalwood and violet lift to its joyous wild strawberry fruit. Steely, mineral, acidity a touch grapefruit­y, and delicate pithy pomegranat­e tannins bring focus. Will appeal to lovers of Pineau d’Aunis and Pinot Noir. Served chilled.

Drink 2021-2022 Alc 12%

Azamor, Single Estate Tinto, Alentejano 2016 92

£ 14.49 Bentley’s of Ludlow, Hay Wines,

Seven Cellars, The Secret Cellar

A kitchen sink blend with Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, Merlot, Tourigas Franca and Nacional, Trincadeir­a and 6% Petit Verdot from densely planted vines. Perfumed, with luscious bramble, blueberry and black cherry, dried fig and inky violets to nose and mouthfilli­ng palate. Black pepper, a lick of cinnamon and powdery tannins underscore the finish. Drink 2021-2023 Alc 14%

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