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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Portuguese Perfection Bottled


Quinta dos Carvalhais Alfrocheiro Dão (DOC) 2015, 14%, €31.99 Wine Online

Mid to dark ruby is the colour. Plum and a touch of vanilla in the complex and pleasant aromas. Smooth and elegant in the mouth with concentrated dark fruit flavours, a little spice, soft tannins and there’s a long lip-smacking finish. Quite the complete wine and Very Highly Recommended.

The different Alfrocheiro grapes (sourced from 3 different vineyards) are matured for 9 months in used French oak barrels. The final blend consisted of wine aged in oak (94%) and wine retained in stainless steel tanks (6%). 

The wine underwent fining and filtration prior to bottling. In order to preserve the wine at its peak, in terms of quality, it was bottled without cold treatment and natural deposits may therefore form as it ages. They recommended decanting and that may be more necessary as the wine gets older. I decanted mine but no sign of sediment.

Carvalhais comes under the Sogrape umbrella and they are regarded as one of the top Alfrocheiro producers in Portugal. By the way, they say, that once opened, consume the same day - although the wine should retain its quality for some time providing it is kept in a well-stoppered bottle (ideally vacuum-sealed).

Alfrocheiro is a not a grape you come across every day. Alfrocheiro Preto, to give it its full title, is found in Portugal and grown mainly in Dão. Because of it susceptibility to fungal attack, it is a bit of a gamble and the rewards are deep colour, balanced sugars and acidity. See here for more detail.

Herdade do Peso Sossego Branco Alentejano (IG) 2016, 13%, 
RRP €16.99, Matson Wine Store,  wineonline.ie

Serve, Hardade do Peso advise, at 9 to 11 degrees. That helps for sure. But the real secret for the perfect serve is that this white blend requires tranquility, “an Alentejan calm, free from daily concerns, as peaceful as the rolling plains .. where this wine was born. Listen, breathe, taste. In Portuguese, 'sossego' means 'peace' or 'quiet'. The name says it all.”

The local tranquility wasn’t too bad either as I opened the Sossego with its light yellow colour and tints of green. Scents of citrus fruit and blossoms, more floral than fruity, enhance the mood. Lively and fresh on the palate, the fruit flavours are balanced by excellent acidity and a good dry finish follows. Refreshing and flavourful, and tranquil too, it is Highly Recommended.


The grapes used by winemaker Luis Cabral de Almeida were 75% Antão Vaz, 20% Arinto, 5% Roupeiro.  After fermentation, the wines remained in vats for around three months. The wine underwent gentle fining, stabilisation and filtration before bottling.This may be enjoyed on its own or as an aperitif. It pairs wonderfully with various fish dishes, some white meats and an array of salads.


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