Quinta da Bacalhôa Merlot 2017

I remember back in the 1980s when Quinta da Bacalhôa’s red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot was one of the few – if not the only – good quality red made in Portugal from French grape varieties.

It was a hit with wine lovers who were fond of the typical Bordeaux blend made in our warmer climate resulting in what we now know as the New World style.

Over the years, the wine has been overshadowed by many greater things, but the same Quinta da Bacalhôa wine is still made (costing around €18) and continues to have its fans.

Now part of a large wine conglomerate but still depicting the beautiful Bacalhôa palace in Azeitão, near Setúbal, on its label, the brand has branched out and amongst the wines being produced are varietal reds under the Bacalhôa name, including this Merlot.

With Merlot being part of the original blend in their premium label, this is a variety that has long been grown by the producer and, costing around half the price of the blend (€9.95), it represents excellent value for money.

For a Merlot varietal, this is a wine of considerable depth and character, aged in new French oak for 18 months and bottle-aged for six months before release.

There are rich red fruit notes on the nose mingling with chocolate, coffee and spices. Medium to full-bodied in the mouth with elegant tannins and a long, dry finish.

This is a lot of wine for the money and will certainly benefit from another few years of bottle ageing.

patrick.stuart@open-media.net