This 2011 red from Algarve winery Quinta dos Vales in Estombar is one of the best Algarve wines I have yet tried, the result not only of excellent quality fruit and careful winemaking but also of patience on the producers’ part – for this 2011 vintage was only released onto the market in 2017, after a full six years of ageing in the estate’s cellars.
It can be found at Intermarché, Jumbo and Auchan supermarkets costing between €16 and €18 and is worth every cent.
The Alicante Bouschet grape, one of the very few red varieties that is red on the inside as well as red skinned, producing some of the finest wines of the Alentejo, such as the famous Mouchão and the Moon Harvested red from Herdade dos Grous, but here in the Algarve it has not yet been widely used as a varietal.
However, this example, having benefitted from ageing and now in peak condition, is proof that the Algarve is every bit as well-suited to the cultivation of Alicante Bouschet.
This is a fruit driven wine of great finesse and considerable power. Upfront juicy blackberry notes mingle with hints of tobacco and chocolate on the nose; in the mouth the wine is full-bodied yet elegant with fine tannins and a great depth of flavour leading to a clean, dry finish. Outstanding, and a perfect partner for roast lamb.