Here is another take on the Algarve’s most traditional grape variety. I was a bit dubious when I saw this on the shelf at my local Intermarché (€10.61), considering that it is from the 2016 vintage, far too young to even consider drinking as a red wine in my book. But I am a great fan of this grape variety and decided to buy a bottle all the same.
Back in the day before quality wine started to be produced in the Algarve (around 15 years ago), local farmers supplied mostly Negra Mole grapes to the wine cooperative to make the poor-quality plonk that was sold in those old 5-litre “garrafões” (flagons).
No attempts had been made back then to selectively grow and harvest the grape for the production of quality wine, but many of the old vines are still in existence.
I may be wrong but, as far as I know, the first local producer to show us what could be done with Negra Mole when given the TLC it deserves was João Clara with their first vintage back in 2011.
João Clara’s Negra Mole 2014, which is currently on the market, is considerably and justly more expensive than this wine.
João Clara and other producers have now shown us how this grape can produce wines of a similar style and structure to Pinot Noir, but this latest wine to be launched by Paxá Wines of Silves is something quite different.
It would seem that the wine spent less time in contact with the skins than any other Negra Mole I have tried; this is more like a clarete than a red wine.
The colour is a dark pink and the wine is intensely fruity with a slight sweetness on the palate; a wine best drunk young.
On the rear label, they talk of it being ideally suited to pair with sardines or baby squid with ink. This could well work, but I would rather serve it chilled with a nice spicy curry, or even with a cheese board.