Monte da Penha -The waiting game

There are few producers in Portugal who hold back their wines long enough before releasing them onto the market, especially in the mid priced range. But Monte da Penha in the north eastern reaches of the Alentejo is an exception.

Just recently I tried this 2007 Reserva, which has only just been replaced where it has sold out with the 2009.

Both are excellent examples of the medium-to-full-bodied style of red produced by Monte da Penha and other wineries in this part of the Alentejo that is quite different to the fuller and richer wines produced further south.

Priced at around €14, the wine is made from a blend of Alicante Bouchet with Touriga Nacional and Aragonez, fermented in stainless steel and aged for one year in French oak barrels.

This is an elegant wine, the 2009 not yet showing its age and still full of freshness of the nose; the tannins are well rounded from the years of bottle giving the wine a long and smooth finish.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]