What’s behind the mask?

Volta Face red and white

New in at Apolónia, this very unusual label depicting a carnival mask in gold for the red and silver for the white caught my attention last weekend. With so many people wearing masks these days, albeit of the surgical variety, the wine seemed somehow appropriate, but at the same time forbidden, what with any sort of party, masqueraded or otherwise, being out of the question for the time being.

Anyway, I decided to buy a bottle of each (€11.95), with no idea of what lay beneath the mask.

On the back label, the name of the wine is revealed – Volta Face, roughly translating to “about turn” in English. These are both very decent Alentejo wines for those who like a bit of oak.

The red is made of 75% Alicante Bouschet and 25% Syrah, aged for 12 months in new French oak. From the 2015 vintage, the wine has had some time to bottle-age and, although clearly oaky on the nose, it is well balanced with notes of chocolate and jammy fruits, full-bodied in the mouth with well-rounded tannins.

The white, from the 2016 vintage, is made from the traditional Alentejo grape Antão Vaz, oak-fermented and partially barrel-aged with batonnage. This is an interesting wine made with careful oak work, particularly well-suited for pairing with cheese or creamy pasta dishes. Pale straw in colour with exuberant tropical fruit and pineapple notes on the nose, the wine is well structured in the mouth with good acidity and fresh finish.

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