Herdade da Fonte Coberta Reserva Tinto 2010

I had not even heard of this producer until I noticed a small collection of their reds on the shelf of the Alentejo reds section in Apolónia last week.

Not being a great fan of the traditional-style heavy Alentejo reds, I may well have passed them by, had it not been for the year of vintage, 2010, which is an unusually old age for a mainstream wine to make its way to a supermarket shelf here in Portugal.

With sufficient bottle-ageing, the rich and ripe reds of the Alentejo can become a great deal more approachable for those of us who favour the more elegant style of Portuguese wine produced in cooler parts of the country.

I was also surprised to see this reserva alongside two varietals (a Syrah and an Alicante Bouchet, both 2013) from the same producer, at exactly the same price of €9.95. I have yet to try the varietals but the reserva, a blend of Alicante Bouchet, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon did not disappoint.

Looking at the grape mix, I was expecting a powerful and full-bodied red, but the initial oak-ageing and subsequent years in the bottle have done a fine job.

On the nose there are subtle notes of dark fruit and chocolate with well-integrated oak whilst in the mouth. The wine is soft and supple, the tannins having lost their grip giving way to layers of rich fruity flavours.

This is a wine that could well be at its peak condition for drinking right now, lacking structure to age for much longer but representing great value for money for immediate drinking.

By Patrick Stuart
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