A terrific Alentejano debut: Susana Esteban Procura 2011 & Aventura 2012
In March I wrote up my first taste of Procura 2011, Susana Esteban’s maiden eponymous wine (here). Though this tender young thing had yet to be bottled, its personality leaped out the glass.
Not only is the finished article as thrilling as my first taste, it transpires that her junior red, “Aventura,” is a veritable chip off the old block! It too is a blend of Estremoz and Portalegre fruit, the latter sourced from old mixed varietal (field blend) vineyards – a font of exciting new wines (read about Portalegre’s pioneers here). The grapes for both are handpicked into 20kg boxes and undergo further hand-selection at the winery before being fermented in lagares. What a debut!!!!
Susana Esteban Aventura 2012 (VR Alentejana)
The Estremoz component is Aragones (40%) and Touriga Nacional (20%); 20% is from traditional Portalegre field blend varieties. Fresh and vibrant to the eye and on nose and palate, this is a really sappy, juicy wine with great concentration and fluidity of fresh-picked, pippy, red and black berry fruits. The tannins are ripe, present but fine. I just love the focus on the whole fruit and nothing but the whole fresh fruit in this very balanced, unoaked wine. On day two, it’s still fresh as a daisy – vividly high pixel. There’s an undertow of minerality too. As Esteban points out, it has good ageing potential. 13.5% abv. 6,200 bottles produced.
Susana Esteban Procura 2011 (VR Alentejana)
With 40% teinturer Alicante Bouschet, which is sourced from a very low yielding vineyard on schistous soils, this is a deeply yet brightly coloured (crimson) red – young! It shows sweet but classy vanillin oak (think vanilla sugar), incipient (cured) leather, black berry and cassis fruit on the nose (it is aged for 14 months in French oak barrels, 30% of them new and 70% second year). In the mouth, though the oak is initially quite present, behind that the fruit has a raw yet finely polished intensity – a dryness too which I really like. And it (the fruit) builds in the mouth, swiftly asserting itself. This is a wonderfully penetrating, palate-staining wine, really intense and complex, with a pronounced schistous, smoky minerality on the back palate and long, sinewy tannins. The finish is extremely long – a terrific synthesis of polished, dark fruit and gravelly minerals. Great ageing potential. 14.5% abv. 3,900 bottles produced. Outstanding.