Petit Verdot from the west Algarve

Monte do Além is a small Belgian-owned winery located near Odiáxere in the west Algarve. Until just last week I had not yet tried any of their wines but after hearing a few good reports, not only about their organic practices but likewise about some awards they had won, I decided to seek out this Petit Verdot varietal which I picked up at my local Intermarché supermarket in Lagoa priced at €12.38.

I also grabbed a bottle of their rosé, a new wine released this year priced at around €5.

This is definitely a winery to watch, a small and self contained project where a great deal of care goes into making wines as naturally as possible, from tending a vineyard that uses no pesticides or fertilisers to minimal intervention in the winery.

Petit Verdot is a notoriously difficult grape to grow due to being late ripening compared to most other varieties and often spoiling due to poor weather in its native Bordeaux, but the weather here in the Algarve is ideal.

This 2011 is a big and juicy red that still has a good few years to go to reach its peak but is already drinking very well.

On the nose, there are rich dark berry notes with very well-integrated oak, firm and full bodied in the mouth, with present but nicely rounded tannins, and a very fresh finish.

As for the rosé, the fashionable pale colour and reasonable price will no doubt see it flying off the shelves – an unremarkable but refreshing and easy drinking rosé.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]