20170619_173459-1536×864

Herdade do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva Antão Vaz Vertical (2012-2007)

In a recent post about Portalegre – Alentejo’s coolest, highest DOC sub-region – I reported how leading producer Rui Reguinga of Terrenus used to give away white grapes.  Little value was attached to white wines in Alentejo.  Except, that is, in Vidigueira which, counter-intuitively, is this southerly region’s southern-most DOC sub-region.  Here, white wines made from Antão Vaz have been something of a tradition. And remain a signature strength if this impressive tenth anniversary vertical of Herdade do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva is a guide.

Olho de Mocho Reserva is made from Herdade do Rocim’s best Antão Vaz vines, which are 26 years old and grown on shy-bearing sandy soils.  The variety is so well adapted to this site that wines do not need to be acidified.  The structure and drive of Rocim’s mature Vidigueira whites surprised me.  Yet they retained the mouthfeel  – weight and breadth – which you would expect of a warm region.  Quite a coup.  Ooodles of character – pungency and (salty) piquancy too.

So what’s so special about the site?  The Vidigueira fault is at work.  It produced the  Serra do Mendro – a 50km west-facing escarpment –  which, rising to 420m, demarcates the border between the Upper and Lower Alentejo. From a terroir perspective, the escarpment traps cool and humid Atlantic winds, creating cold air and fogs  – cooling, humid influences – which descend at night. Humidity is also relatively high because of the cloudburst factor as southern winds rise up the Serra do Mendro and shed their load. According to winemaker Catarina Vieira, this specific micro-climate accounts for Vidigueira’s “very mineral, elegant and fresh wines that can age very well.”  The sandy soils also explain its minerality, she said.

As you can see, the winemaking has changed over time, with a shift to 100% French oak (though only part of the wine sees oak) and a lengthening of time in oak.  When I showed the 2013 vintage at an Alentejo trade/press masterclass a couple of years ago, Vieira told me that “ageing the wine on fine lees is very important for the minerality, freshness and for the aging potential of this wine.”  

Here are my notes on the vertical from 2012 back to 2007.  My picks of the bunch?  The 2012, 2011 and 2007.  Herdade do Rocim’s UK importer is Portal Wines & Spirits.

Herdade do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva 2012 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

The 2012 vintage was hand harvested into 12kg boxes on 29 & 30th September.  Following 12 hours of skin contact, the juice was fermented, a portion in new French oak.  It was aged in tank and oak for 5 months on lies with daily batonnage, then bottle aged for 4 months.  Yellow with gold glints.  Showing some development on a complex nose and palate with a nutty, petrol edge (attractive) to its lemon peel/lemon oil, lemon verbena, gently roasted, still succulent, pineapple (just ripe, so it doesn’t taste tropical).  And, as it opens up, an apricot kernel fruity nuttiness becomes more pronounced.  There is a a subtle touch of oiliness, which makes for nice mouthfeel and palate weight.  Good acid drive, lip-smacking acidity even, gives length and line.  Finishes long and comcentrated, with a salty piquancy.  Very good.  13%, 5.4g/l TA, 3.2 pH, 9000 bottles produced.

Herdade do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva 2011 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

In this warmer, drier year, the grapes were hand harvested into 12kg boxes on 22nd & 23rd August.  Following 12 hours of skin contact, the juice was fermented, a portion in new French oak.  It was aged in tank and oak for 5 months on lies with daily batonnage, then bottle aged for 3 months.  The 2011 is a deeper (yellow/golden) than the 2012 and 2010.  The nose is nutty, quite developed, with concentrated (dried?) apricot and delicious bitter grapefruit pith notes for balance and tang.  The acidity feels less marked, but it is persistent.  As you would expect from this renowned vintage, the 2011 is a powerful wine with good palate weight, an oilier mouthfeel than the 2012 (but not too oily).  It finishes on a resinous note and with salty piquancy.  Would be great with pongy cheese – a slick of mature, runaway Serra d’Estrela perhaps?   Very good.  13%, 5.2g/l TA, 3.2 pH,  10, 500 bottles produced.

Herdade do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva 2010 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

The 2010 vintage was hand harvested into 12kg boxes on 7th & 8th September.  Following 12 hours of skin contact, the juice was fermented, a portion in new extra fine grain French (80%) and US (20%) oak.  Aged in tank and oak for 5 months on lies with daily batonnage, then bottle aged for 3 months.  This was the simpler, less concentrated wine of the flight, with a sweet nutty edge and resin (pine needle) nuances to its roasted pineapple.  The fruit retains a succulence and is holding well, but it doesn’t have the structure or acid drive of the others.  13% 5g/l TA, pH 3.18,  10, 400 bottles produced.

Herdade do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva 2009 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

Hand harvested into 12kg boxes on 25th & 26th August.  Following 12 hours of skin contact, the juice was fermented, a portion in extra fine grain new French (80%) and US (20%) oak.  Aged in tank and oak for 5 months on lies with daily batonnage, then bottle aged for 3 months. The heat of the vintage comes through in this richer, yellow/gold wine with its creamier, oiler brazil nut notes.  Though the flavour profile is more developed, the 2009 retains impressive structure, with good acid drive still and a piquant saltiness.  Nice length, with a nutty, creamy, brazil nut accented finish. 13.5%, 5.4g/l TA, pH 3.25,  10, 500 bottles produced.

Herdade do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva 2008 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

Hand harvested into 12kg boxes on 2nd & 3rd September.  Following a period of skin contact a small portion of the juice was fermented in new French (80%) and US (20%) oak.  Aged in tank and oak for 30 days on lies with daily batonnage, then bottle aged for 3 months.  The 2008 has a hint of buttermint to the nose, something vegetal, which comes through on the palate which has a tangy, cheesy pungent quality (complexing, not unpleasant) and nutty (dried) apricot.  Though it has a languorous, expansive quality and good mouthfeel, the acidity to carry it is wavering, so the 2008 is a little shorter and at drink up stage.  13% 5.1g/l TA, 3.36 pH,  11, 000 bottles produced.

Herdade do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva 2007 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

Hand harvested into 12kg boxes on 12th September.  Following a period of skin contact the juice was fermented, a small portion in new French (75%) and US (25%) oak.  Aged in tank and oak for 45 days on lies with daily batonnage, then bottle aged for 3 months.  Relatively youthful compared with the 2008 and lighter on its feet than the 2009, the yellow/gold 2007 impressed.  It reveals roasted pineapple and grapefruit peel/pith on the attack, with creamy, nutty nuances and a touch of kerosene/oilskin going through on a salty, pungent, powerful palate.  Waxy in the mouth rather than oily, it retains lovely freshness despite its breadth and depth of flavour.  Very good indeed. 12.5%  5.2g/l TA, 3.42 pH,  7,500 bottles produced.
(Visited 168 times, 1 visits today)

There are no comments

Add yours