First taste: Herdade do Peso Ícone 2007, Sogrape’s new flagship Alentejo red

Sogrape is Portugal’s biggest producer.  When I say its portfolio is wide-ranging, there’s no better way to lift that off the page than to mention that it makes Barca Velha on the one hand (Portugal’s most expensive wine) and its long time biggest seller, Mateus Rose.

With estates hither and thither (and, I might add, in Chile and New Zealand), the Callabriga range is its multi-regional Portuguese brand from which my out and out favourites are the wines from Alentejo. In fact my panel awarded the 2005 Callabriga Reserva from Alentejo a Gold Medal and Reginal Trophy at last year’s Decanter Wine Awards.

Sogrape’s own Alentejo estate, Herdade do Peso in Vidígueira, supplies the fruit and, in December, I had the opportunity to taste Peso’s maiden flagship wine, Icone 2007.  It’s only just been (or about to be released) and this almost formidably intense red sure benefits from bottle age and will reward time in cellar.  But like the 2005 Callabriga Reserva, it shows great balance too.  Here’s my tasting note:

Herdade do Peso Ícone 2007 (Alentejo)

Made from 100% Alicante Bouschet this, the new flagship wine, from Sogrape’s Alentejo estate is dark and brooding on nose and palate.  As broad as it’s long, it’s dense without being four square, showing concentrated ripe black currant and berry fruits, bitumen and great savoury, meaty depth.  Aged for 14 months in new French oak, with its powerful, smudgy tannins, it’s an intense rich red which will benefit from at least 3 years in bottle, alternatively pair it with slow cooked meat dishes or mature hard cheese.  Impressive.

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