Essence of Alentejo

This wine is the little brother of Mouchão, one of the Alentejo’s finest wines located in the cooler northern reaches of the region near Portalegre.

Whilst Mouchão itself, produced only in years when the vintage is deemed worthy, is made entirely from the “tintureira” (red blooded) grape, Alicante Bouchet, that fares so well in Alentejo, this mainstream label from the same producer is a blend of Alicante Bouchet with Aragonez and Trincadeira.

Mouchão itself is well worthy of its price tag at around €30 a bottle; a wine with great depth and body that is renowned for its ageing qualities. The lesser sibling, however, is probably one of the best value-for-money Alentejo reds in the sub-€10 price range.

The intense purple-tinged red colour of the Alicante Bouchet grape comes to the front in the glass and on the nose with jammy red fruit notes, but even drunk young, like the 2013 currently on the market, the tannins are soft and rounded in the mouth with a fresh and long finish.

This is a medium-to-full bodied wine, ideal for accompanying roast meats and versatile enough to work with fish on these cooler winter nights.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]