February Wines of the Month: a Tejo Alicante Bouschet & what Carlos Raposo did next
Homegrown talents are the focus of my February Wines of the Month. Having already made their marks in the Douro, Joana Pinhão and Carlos Raposo are making excellent wines in their regions of birth, Tejo and the Dão. I’ve selected an elegant red from each for my February Wines of the Month.
For my work updating the Portugal entries for the 5th edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson & Julia Harding, Tejo’s wine commission very kindly sent a selection of premium Tejo wines, providing a window on developments there. One producer really stood out, especially for the reds (a Pinot Noir and Alicante Bouschet). The packaging and detailed label signals quality and attention to terroir/detail at Casal das Aires. And the winemaker is Joana Pinhão whom I first met at Q Vale d. Maria in the Douro. I’d already come across Joana’s own Douro label, Somnium. Great to see her skills brought to bear in Tejo.
Carlos Raposo’s winemaking talent has graced The Wine Detective pages many times before. He was Dirk Niepoort’s right hand man in the Douro for some years and launched his uber-premium Vinhos Imperfeitos label in 2018, somewhat taking my breath away (you can read my review here). Raposo sent me his latest ‘World Wild Wine’ label releases which, whilst falling a little closer to earth in price point, are no less heavenly.
The wildest in terms of region and style (Rhonish) is a pale, mid-weight Tinta Mole red from the Algarve with delicious whole bunch lift and spice (out in March/April). From his region of origin – the Dão – Ideal and Definido White (both 2019) are complex and quite Burgundian. He uses Puligny Montrachet barrels but I’d say they’re more on the classic Meursault side (they have a butteriness/texture, touch beurre noisette). Ideal and Definido reds (both 2018) have great finesse in terms of fruit purity, tannin structure (so very fine) and freshness. Ideal Red 2018 strikes me as great value and is already sold out! With a good dose of Baga in the blend, Definido has tremendous tension. It is my other February Wine of the Month.