Solstício Tinto 2013

More from the other Alentejo

When I say ‘the other Alentejo’, I am talking here about the hilly north of the region, the Serra de São Mamede, close to the city of Portalegre. I could also have been referring to the Alentejo coast which has been coming on leaps and bounds over recent years – wines produced in both of these areas are very different to those of the hot Alentejo plains.

Portalegre is, in fact, a sub-region in terms of wine and this one from the Cabeças do Reguengo winery is made from grapes grown at an altitude of over 500 metres. It is essentially a field blend from very old vines, something unusual for the Alentejo.

Alicante Bouchet, Aragonez and Trincadeira dominate a blend of 10 different grapes including Grand Noir, Tinta de Olho Branco and Castelão. The reds from this part of the Alentejo are typically lighter in structure than those produced further south but here we have a big powerful wine, full-bodied yet elegant with great freshness.

The wine is naturally fermented with indigenous yeasts and made with minimal sulfur, the idea of the producer being to make the wine as naturally as possible. Fermented and aged in a mixture of new and old French oak barrels, it is deep and inky in colour with ripe forest fruits on the nose, clean and fresh in the mouth with layers of berry flavours and well-rounded yet firm tannins. A very serious wine that comfortably justifies the price tag of €23.95 at Apolónia.

By Patrick Stuart
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