The day in early August last year when I decided to harvest my grapes hoping for a low alcohol level of around 12° seems so long ago now …
It all started in early 2020 when I took the plunge and signed up for the Winemaker Experience at the Quinta dos Vales winery.
This involved buying (or should I say, leasing) a plot of vines; in my case, some 180 plants of the red Alicante Bouschet variety.
Most people make a full-bodied red wine from this grape variety which, unlike most red wine grapes, is red on the inside as well as on the outside. But I was set on making a kind of “Palhete”, the Portuguese name for a pale red wine, which is usually mixed with a little white.
I received expert guidance from Marta Rosa, the resident oenologist at Quinta dos Vales, and we decided to press the grapes with minimal skin contact and just a small proportion (15%) of their white Arinto grapes.
And now, finally, the time has arrived to bottle my wine and leave it to rest for a while until both myself and Marta agree it is well and truly ready for drinking.
My final tasting of the wine, ahead of bottling next week, already reveals something that is very close to what I was hoping for. On the nose, there are fresh red berry notes, and the wine is light to medium bodied in the mouth, with an agreeable dry finish. The end result is probably more of a light red wine than a rosé, but that is arguable. What is for sure is that it is a wine to serve chilled, but not too chilled.
There will only be around 250 bottles produced and they are mostly for friends, family and work colleagues to enjoy, but if you have been interested enough to read this far, then I would like to invite you to drop me an email and the first three Portugal Resident readers who do so (assuming you live in Portugal) will receive a bottle by post with my compliments.