When thinking of the Alicante Bouschet grape to make a varietal red in Portugal, the first wine that will come to mind for any Portuguese wine lover is Mouchão, one of the country’s (and especially the Alentejo’s) most highly regarded producers and the estate that first introduced this grape variety to Portugal at end of the 19th century.
Mouchão is rightly known as the home of Alicante Bouschet and they produce a range of superb wines including the premium Tonel 3-4 label, which sells for between €150 and €200 a bottle, depending on the vintage.
But, over the last couple of decades, we have seen many other producers using Alicante Bouschet both in blends and in varietals. It is a “tintureira” grape, meaning that the flesh on the inside is red and, along with dark red skins, it does very well in our warm climate, especially here in the Algarve, which brings me to the wine in question.
Quinta dos Vales, near Estombar (Lagoa), planted their Alicante Bouschet vines in 2007 and they have had excellent results with the variety. The 2018 vintage (€18.99 at Intermarché), produced from vines that at the time were 11 years old, was aged for 14 months in new French oak and then bottle-aged before being released last year.
This is a wine of great depth of colour with intense black berry fruit on the nose, mingling with hints of mint and tobacco. The oak is already well integrated with firm yet smooth tannins and a freshness on the palate that balances the full-bodied structure.
To show its full potential, this is clearly a wine that needs a few more years in the bottle but, right now, it is already quite delicious.