Marquês de Borba Vinhas Velhas

Old vines, new wines

João Portugal Ramos is one of Portugal’s top wine producers and one of his greatest brands is Marquês de Borba from Estremoz in the Alentejo, the main label of this name being one of the biggest-selling Portuguese red wines in the sub-€5 price range.

Ramos has other well-known brands, with wineries both in the Alentejo and up north, but Marquês de Borba is probably the best known of them, and it is the name that also graces the label of his most expensive wine, Marquês de Borba Reserva, selling for upwards of €35 in the shops.

Just released this year are the new “Vinhas Velhas” (old vines) red and white, created to give life to the Marquês de Borba name in the mid-price range – prices at €14.99 in Apolónia.

The white is a blend of Arinto with Roupeiro, Antão Vaz and Alvarinho, fermented and aged in French and Hungarian oaks. This is an oaky wine with intense toasty notes on the nose mingling with citric and tropical fruits, full and flavoursome in the mouth with good acidity and a long, fresh finish.

This may be a little too oaky for some (myself included), but the red is an altogether more approachable wine, a blend of Alicante Bouschet with Aragonês, Castelão and Syrah. This is quite unusual for an Alentejo red, medium to full bodied with great freshness and quite some finesse. The oak is very well integrated here allowing the forest fruit aromas to come to the front, smooth tannins and a nice dry finish. Both the white and the red will benefit greatly from a few years of bottle ageing.

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