For my first article this year, I decided to single out something that was not only new to the market but also interesting from the perspective of winemaking in Portugal. So here we have the newest offering from the highly-regarded Alentejo winery Cortes de Cima.
It is interesting as a wine but also because the amphora, or talha as it is known in Portuguese, has long adorned the labels of Cortes de Cima’s wines. But this is the first wine made here that has been both fermented and aged in clay amphora, a growing trend around the world that is fast gaining gravitas here in Portugal. But that said, there have long been wines made in Portugal, especially in the Alentejo, using clay vats rather than oak or steel.
Such wines are particularly attractive to consumers who appreciate the effects of micro oxygenation from oak barrels but not the inherent oakiness of the wine in the glass.
Cortes de Cima went about producing this wine with great care. The predominant grape is Aragonez, blended with Syrah and a touch of Touriga Nacional.
This is an elegant wine, lighter in structure than most of the reds from this producer but with great expressive berry fruit on the nose.
A whole year ageing in the clay vat has smoothed out the tannins, and a further year of cellaring since the wine was bottled in 2016 (it was released just a few months ago) has it ready for drinking and enjoying right now.
This is an easy drinking wine, but with real finesse and nice long finish that justifies the price of €18.95 at Apolónia.