The last time I wrote here about the wines of Monte da Penha, the title of the article was “The waiting game”. I was referring to how this producer in the São Mamede hills of the north eastern Alentejo is one of the very few in Portugal that allows its wine serious time to mature before releasing each vintage onto the market.
Only in the best years do they make this Grande Reserva, and Apolónia Supermarkets have a few bottles left of the excellent 2005 that is on special offer until July 2, reduced from €22.95 to €17.19.
They may have decided to promote it thinking that the wine has peaked in terms of ageing and, although I would not disagree as it is clearly showing signs of age, it also has both the acidity and freshness to improve for a good few more years. However, this wine is well and truly ready for drinking and for those of you who appreciate aged wines, this is a rare find outside of specialised wine shops.
This vintage is a blend of 50% Alicante Bouschet with Aragonês and Trincadeira. On the nose, there are complex mature dark berry notes along with leather and tobacco; in the mouth, it is medium- to full-bodied with solid but smooth tannins and great depth of flavour.
This is a very good example of the top-quality reds coming out of the São Mamede sub-region of the Alentejo, where the cooler climate and altitude provide a terroir more akin to the Dão region further north. Take advantage of the special offer but decant with care as it is throwing a very fine sediment.
By Patrick Stuart