Alentejo – first taste: Mouchao 2006 & 2 new wines from Richard Mayson’s Quinta do Centro
After a solid week of tasting Portuguese wines for Decanter World Wine Awards, I got withdrawal symptoms last night and what better than to taste two brand new wines from my fellow chair, Richard Mayson, who presided over the judging of fortified wines. And why not make it a hat trick since I had a sample of iconic estate Mouchao’s latest 2006 offering, also from Alentejo?
Quinta do Centro Duas Pedras 2009
Mayson and Reguinga are Rhone fans and this new entry level unoaked red is a blend of around 60% Touriga Nacional, 40% Syrah (a combination I really like) with a dash of co-fermented Viognier. It’s well endowed with creamy ripe but fleshy raspberry and blackberry fruit with hints of liquorice and an attractive earthy, dusty finish. Smooth tannins and juicy acidity make for a very attractive red gutsy enough to stand up well to hearty meat dishes or it’ll rub along nicely with pizza. Very good and apparently to be sold exclusively by The Wine Society.
Quinta do Centro Pedra e Alma 2009
Pedra e Alma (‘Stone and Soul’) is Mayson’s reserve wine and is made from the estate’s best two casks (one new, one second year), the fruit coming from thirty year old vines. As you’d expect, this cask sample is significantly darker than the Duas Pedras. The nose is quite lovely, lifted, sweet and plummy with vanilla oak which lingers on a sensual palate awash with ripe but fleshy layers of plum, damson and raspberry fruit, supported by fine grained tannins. Interestingly, the finish is stony and tight – palpably mineral, with the fruit intensity echoed on the back palate, suggesting this wine has a long life ahead. Bravo – very promising, with a real sense of its “cool” and mountainous Portalegre origins!
Herdade do Mouchao Mouchao 2006
A sweet ripe nose and palate reveals a sumptuous swirl of violets/kid glove leather, chocolate, plum, dried fig and panneforte well shouldered by ripe but sinewy tannins which carry a very long, spicy, intense and mineral finish with a subtle savoury, bloody tang. An immensely powerful wine which, though already showing itself has oodles of reserve in the tank. Think 20 years plus. Compelling.
Click here for notes of my trip to Alentejo in 2009 during which I visited both producers and, if you want to check out Mouchao’s track record for ageing, the report includes tasting notes on Mouchao 2005, 2002, 1990, 1979 and the flagship wine, Mouchao Tonel 3-4 2005 and 2001.