August Wines of the Month from Penfolds & Mouchão
This month’s dynamic duo will come as no surprise to some. Both are made by iconic producers, each founded in the 19th century. Penfolds Reserve Bin A Chardonnay is a relatively new addition to this illustrious South Australian company’s range, while Mouchão was first bottled in 1949. Here are my notes:
Penfolds Reserve Bin 12A Chardonnay 2012 (Adelaide Hills)
Flighty is the word that springs to mind for Reserve Bin 12A, such is its lift. And, so racy is it, it feels almost elusive! Lemon and lime jangle enticingly on the nose and follow through on a very vibrant palate together with steelier grapefruit. A rapier-like undertow of acidity carries a super long sabre-rattling finish with great resonance of struck match and spicy toast (it was aged for 9 months in French oak barriques, 53% new). Wonderful intensity and structure – loved its fine, energetic frame and focus. My pick of the three vintages I tasted last month with winemaker Kym Schroeter. 12.5% abv. Catch it if you can at Corney & Barrow at £309.48/6 bottles.
Herdade do Mouchão Mouchão 2010 (VR Alentejano)
Last month I presented a couple of masterclasses for the trade at Nuno Mendes’ latest venture, Taberna do Mercado in London’s Spitalfields Market. With an all Portuguese wine list and Mendes’ contemporary spin on classic Portuguese dishes (including canned fish!) I can highly recommend it. Alentejo is a huge region – the size of Belgium. Unsurprisingly, it has a terrific mix of terroir; arguably, Mouchão warrants its very own DOC, so distinctive are its wines. This vintage may not be the most concentrated or structured of this famously ageworthy red but its individuality and modest price tag for such a distinguished wine won many plaudits at the event (reported in full together with an interview with Mendes here). This blend of 70% Alicante Bouschet and 30% Trincadeira is as traditional as they come. It was fermented in aged stone lagares with 100% stems, then aged in large old 5,000 litre toneis for two to three years, then another two to three years in bottle. Mouchão 2010 has savoury layers of mellow dried fig, black olive and incipient leather with inky floral, tobacco, berber whisky (stewed mint tea) and eucalyptus top notes. Sturdy, spicy, grape-driven tannins build in the mouth, yet are very well integrated – not in the least aggressive. A very long, involving finish has this estate’s warm earth, slightly bloody, ironstone tang. Wonderful. 14% £28.95 at Berry Bros & Rudd & £29.50 (2009) at Halifax Wine Company.
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