Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - 141


YEAR'S BEST PORTUGUESE REDS
Our blind panels tasted 229 new-release Portuguese reds over the past 12 months.
Joshua Greene, our critic for Portugal, rated 43 as exceptional (90+) and 19 as Best Buys.
Find a complete list of wines tasted and all reviews at wineandspiritsmagazine.com.

ALENTEJO
218264

94 | João Portugal Ramos

$40

2012 Alentejano Quinta da Viçosa ^ João
Portugal Ramos planted this vineyard in
1998 on a clay-limestone rise near Estremoz;
the 100 acres of vines face in two directions:
northeast and southeast. This is a selection
of aragones and petit verdot, fermented in
French oak vats and aged for a year in new,
small French oak barrels. Perhaps it's the
water-holding capacity of limestone, or the
exposure to the morning sun, but there's a
distinctly cool feel to this wine. It delivers its
strength and intensity of flavor with subtlety
and elegance, in notes of fruity mushrooms
and fresh forest mint. Fine mineral tannins
support and lengthen the flavors, suggesting
this will age well if you don't decide to enjoy
it now. § The Winebow Group, NY

218557

92 | J. M. da Fonseca

$17

2014 Alentejano José de Sousa (Best Buy) ^
Domingos Soares Franco began experimenting with fermentation in amphorae after his
family's company bought the Casa Agricola
José de Sousa Rosado Fernandes in 1986.
Locals were using their massive, century-old
clay pots as planters at the time; he bought
up as many intact vessels as he could and
filled the winery, adding more when they
exploded in the middle of fermentation, in
the middle of the night. The technique and
style of this wine has shifted over the years,
and this is the first vintage in recent memory
that has found such a remarkable balance. A
blend of grand noir (50 percent) with trincadeira and aragones, most of it fermented cool
in stainless steel. A small portion fermented
in clay pots charges the wine with complex-

ity, creating a rainbow of color in the flavors,
from strawberry to cassis, orange and blackberry. It's volatile when first opened, but air
allows the wine to integrate, firmly shaped by
the tannins. Decant it for a glimpse into the
Alentejo's past. § Palm Bay Int'l, Boca Raton, FL

218018

92 | Marcolino Sebo

$20

2011 Alentejo Visconde de Borba Reserva ^
Marcolino Sebo and his family farm 320
acres of vines between Borba and Estremoz.
They sold grapes to the Borba co-op until
they built a winery and started producing their own wines in 2000. Jorge Santos
blends this from aragonez, alicante bouschet,
trincadeira and tinta caiada that's foot-trod
in lagars. Decant it to get past the initial oak
scents, as meaty as the char on a steak. Then
you'll find a huge black wine with explosive
mineral tannins and expansive flavors that
capture the heat of Alentejo and deliver it in
fresh fruit. § Aidil Wines & Liquors, Newark, NJ
219169

91 | João Portugal Ramos

$20

2013 Alentejano Vila Santa Reserva ^ Part
of this blend was foot-trod in marble lagares,
the balance fermented in temperature-controlled wooden vats, coming together in
a smoky, spicy red with mineral-inflected
tannins. It feels mature and ready to drink,
showing the elegant side of aragones and
some herbal notes of cabernet sauvignon,
though neither dominates the blend. § MundoVino/The Winebow Group, NY
219101

91 | Herdade do Rocim

$19

2013 Alentejano Reserva (Best Buy) ^ This
is rich and savory, with the flavor depth of

unsweetened chocolate. A blend of touriga
nacional, aragones and alicante bouschet, it
has the warmth of alcohol you might expect
from those grapes grown in the Alentejo, but
it also has a cool spark of acidity notable in
fruit grown in Vidigueira's high-acid soils. §
Langdon Shiverick, Los Angeles, CA
219675

91 | Monte dos Cabaços

$21

90 | Herdade do Esporão

$22

90 | Eladio Piñeiro

$31

WINE & SPIRITS

141

2010 Alentejano Colheita Seleccionada ^
Susana Esteban makes this wine for Joaquim
and Margarida Cabaço, who farm 200 acres
of vines near Estremoz, selecting the best
for their own label. This blend is based
on alicante bouschet, along with touriga
nacional, aragones and a small amount of
cabernet. It's a broad and luscious Alentejo
red, with a heated discussion between the
secondary and tertiary fruit notes of rooibos
tea and the stature of the tannins. It would
calm down in the company of roast goat. §
Obrigado-Vinhos Portugal, New Rochelle, NY
219159
2015 Alentejano Quatro Castas ^ This wine's
bright blueberry scents carry through to
flavors of tart berries that last. The richness of
its Alentejano fruit is present, but constricted
by savory fruit tannins (think blueberry
skins) and a clean, refreshing note of cassis.
David Baverstock and his team make Quatro
Castas from a selection of the four varieties
that performed best in the vintage; in
2015, they were alicante bouschet, touriga
nacional, syrah and trincadeira. § Aidil Wines
& Liquors, Newark, NJ
219049
2007 Alentejo La Coartada ^ Better known as
founder of Mar de Frades in Rías Baixas, Eladio Piñeiro bought a quinta near Estremoz in
1995. His team farms the site and makes the
wine under biodynamic principles. At first,
this tastes fully mature, with the sweet mushroom notes of an old Rioja. Later, as it opens,
it gains a foresty coolness, the silken texture
yielding notes of pomegranate, rose and
dried flowers. Decant it to serve with roast
game birds stuffed with wild mushrooms. §
Think Global, Santa Barbara, CA
218017
APRIL 2017


http://www.wineandspiritsmagazine.com http://www.marcolinosebo.com/index.php/en/wine-and-olive-oil/wines/84-visconde-de-borba-reserva http://www.palmbay.com/producers/JM-da-Fonseca http://www.marcolinosebo.com/index.php/en/wine-and-olive-oil/wines/84-visconde-de-borba-reserva

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - April 2017

Contents
Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - 1
Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - 2
Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - 3
Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - 4
Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - Contents
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Wine & Spirits - April 2017 - Cover3
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