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First taste: Quinta do Mouro latest top tier reds

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Australian Cabernet Sauvignons have featured a fair bit in recent posts.  In Portugal, Alentejo’s Quinta do Mouro makes deft use of this variety and Centurion, a Cabernet hybrid.  Both in blends and, occasionally, as a single varietal.  Varietally, it’s well suited to this producer’s well structured reds. Here are my notes on this renowned Estremoz estate’s latest top tier red releases.

Quinta do Mouro Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

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Only two straight Cabernet vintages have been made, the first in 2007.  Deep purple with a nose of fresh blackcurrants and heady parma violets (which are equally strident on the palate, even on day two).  In the mouth, sweet mulberry joins the just ripe, slightly leafy, dusty blackcurrant, contrasting notes of dried sage too.  The tannins are sturdy yet polished (this wine was aged for 12 months in new French oak which, flavour-wise, is readily mopped up).  Though the fruit is quite mouth-filling, this wine’s tannin structure and fresh acidity make for a firm, distinctly dry finish.  A youthful, as yet quite angular Cabernet; it would be interesting to review it with a few more years under its belt.  14.5%

Quinta do Mouro Vinha do Malhó 2009 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

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This wine comes from a single 2ha vineyard on the estate called Malhó, which was planted in 2001.  I’ve not knowingly tasted Centurion (a Cabernet Sauvignon/Carignan crossing before).  Here it is combined with another crossing (of Peloursin and Syrah), Petit Syrah.  It makes for a characterful wine which, similarly, was aged for 12 months in new French oak.  A deep, richly concentrated, very vinous nose and palate is crammed with sweet, juicy plum, blackcurrant  and dried fruits, especially fig.  Hints of of leather and earth emerge going through and it finishes very long and spicy with liquorice and cassia bark dark spices.  True to the house style, it has a firm, dry, mineral finish and good acidity.  While rich and satisfying now, ripe but present fine grained tannins give it the balance and structure to age well.  Very good – a first release too. 14% .

Quinta do Mouro Rótulo Dourado 2009 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)

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This the flagship wine always impresses.  A blend of Aragones, Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a deep inky, purple hue with a very concentrated nose of dusty blackcurrant, mellow pipe tobacco and lifted violets.  In the mouth, it is as concentrated as I expected (very), but riper and rounder than the nose suggests with sweet, earthy raspberry, ripe black plums, currant and cherry, even a little baked/dried fruit.  But the overall impression is of gleaming, bright highly polished fruit and tannins (this well buffed, muscular wine spent 18-24 months in new French oak).  As it opens up on day two, layers of dusty earth, smoky, schistous minerality, liquorice, fenugreek, mellow pipe tobacco and kid glove leather unfurl.  Firm underlying acidity brings focus to a very persistent, very vinous finish.  Excellent.  14.5% 

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