Classic Alentejo, including Cartuxa Pêra-Manca Red 2008 & Quinta do Mouro Rotulo Dourado Red 2007

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Quinta do Mouro Rotulo Dourado Red 2007

Last Wednesday I wrote up Susana Esteban’s first terrific releases here. I am sure Procura is destined to become an Alentejo classic. Here are my notes on four terrific reds from among the region’s most established producers – Quinta do Mouro and Cartuxa.

Cartuxa Pêra-Manca Red 2008 (DO Alentejo)

It’s difficult to think of a more classic Alentejo red than Pêra-Manca, yet it was first produced in 1990! Firmly structured with sturdy tannins, hints of tobacco, incipient spice and leather, the fruit is bright, yet savoury; there’s moreish dried fig and a lift of violets too.  A very satisfying, big-boned blend of 60% Aragones, 40% Trincadeira with plenty of depth, layer and length.  Great heart and seemingly drier and fresher than the 2007, which (dryness, freshness) I prefer.  Broachable now and good for a decade plus.  14%

Quinta do Mouro Red 2008 (VR Alentejano)

With Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon in the mix as well as Aragones and Touriga Nacional, the emphasis is on structure, line and length; black fruits too.  Very firm, youthfully concentrated and vibrant with lovely balancing freshness.  Finishes long and focused with a touch of tobacco leaf. Very tightly wound; very good.  For the patient.  14.5%

Quinta do Mouro Touriga Nacional Red 2010 (VR Alentejano)

Hardly a classic, but Quinta do Mouro make an excellent straight Touriga Nacional too, which ages well (see my notes on the 2006 here).  The perfumed 2010 is a deep, opaque plum hue.  Initially very peppery but, as it opens up, more typical in its come hither orange blossom and bergamot.  So the structure – its firmness of tannin and freshness, comes as something of a surprise – not that it should at Mouro!  In the mouth, it’s very youthful, with deep reserves of red and black cherry fruit.  Lovely.   14%

Quinta do Mouro Rotulo Dourado Red 2007 (VR Alentejano)

Mouro’s flagship gold label red blew me away.  It’s not made every year and, if the “standard” Mouro requires patience, you most definitely need to be a saint to hold this one back until it’s á point.  Or so I thought until I tasted this beauty – a blend of 45% Alicante Bouschet, 30% Aragonez, 15% Touriga Nacional and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Touriga’s floral notes bring enticing lift to nose and palate.  So despite its rawness of youth – its sheer depth and concentration of juicy black fruit and firm backbone of tannins (the most exhilarating of attacks), the poise and finesse with which it then unfolds in seamless, sensual layers is a surprise and delight.   Very long, with pronounced mineral acidity beneath its veneer of chocolatey oak.  Though I felt an immediate urge to taste it again, it will go some distance.  Tremendous. 14.5%

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