Cortes de Cima

More Portuguese Pinot

Here we have another Portuguese Pinot, a grape that I am passionate about. If I could afford to drink good red Burgundy every day I would probably drink little else, so whenever a new Pinot Noir appears on the market here in Portugal, be it Portuguese or from elsewhere, I am keen to try it.

So far results from Portuguese producers have been mixed. Sometimes I have been disappointed to the extent of wondering why so many producers in this country insist upon trying to make wine from foreign grapes that are not well suited to our terroir.

Pinot Noir is a low yielding, delicate variety that does not like extreme heat and so it made a lot of sense for Alentejo producer Cortes de Cima to make their attempt of producing Pinot not on the baking plains of the region where their main vineyard is located, but rather at their vineyard just inland from the Atlantic coast near Vila Nova de Milfontes. Here, the ocean breezes cool the vines even in summer and Cortes de Cima have had quite some success producing white wines, such as their notable Sauvignon Blanc.

I was, however, a little sceptical when I saw this Pinot Noir for sale at around €30. This makes it the second most expensive Pinot produced here in Portugal, priced just below Dirk Niepoort’s version from the Douro, which, although a little overpriced in my opinion, is still the best.

In order to make a comparison, I decided to try the wine alongside two of my trusted Pinots at more affordable prices. I opted for the Chilean Valdivieso Gran Reserva Pinot Noir from the same vintage as the Cortes de Cima (2014) and Quinta do Cidrô Pinot Noir 2009 from the Douro.

On tasting the Valdivieso and the Quinta do Cidrô, both deliver well as typical new world style Pinots, but they were clearly outclassed by the Cortes de Cima.

The wine is delightful with complex red fruit and subtle leathery notes on the nose and a fine tannic structure in the mouth, very smooth and easy drinking with a long, clean finish. This is clearly up there with the best Pinot Noirs produced in Portugal and considering that only 3,120 bottles were produced, it is sure to be in short supply, even considering the price tag. It would appear to be somewhat overpriced, but what has been achieved here is nonetheless admirable.

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