By PATRICK STUART [email protected]
What a find this was for me last weekend at Apolónia. I’ve long been a fan of this producer whose mainstream Monte da Penha red, priced at less than €10, is a silky smooth medium-to-full-bodied wine with an elegant style not usually associated with the Alentejo.
The winery is located near Portalegre in the upper Alentejo, where the hilly and rocky terrain provides quite a different terroire to the traditional winemaking areas of the region further south.
This 2004 Reserva carries the name Fino on the label, testament to the winemaker Francisco Fino and the personality of his wines that are quite different in style from the powerful red wines that are typical of the Alentejo.
The wine, with a respectable 13% alcohol, is made from a blend of Alicante Bouchet, Aragonês, Trincadeira and Moreto grapes and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels.
The producer cellars the wine for a good few years before release onto the market and this 2004, from what I could gather, first became available in 2008 or 2009.
Today, at nine years old, it is drinking beautifully, although it does seem to be reaching its peak. Jammy forest fruits come forward on the nose with hints of tobacco and leather, the oak totally integrated. In the mouth, the mature fruit follows through with well-rounded tannins and a long finish.
It’s not easy to find a good aged red in the shops outside of specialist wine dealers, and for those who appreciate the complexity and elegance in a red that only time can bring, this is a bargain at around €15. In fact, whilst I was researching it online, I found it priced at €22 so I don’t expect to see this wine lingering on the shelves of Apolónia for long.
Promotional price at Apolónia supermarket
(valid from June 13 to June 19)
Monte da Penha Fino Reserva 2004: €13.99 (retail price €15.95)