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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > Alentejo - Red

Winner Details

Portugal: Red, Alentejo

2019 GOLD: 2      SILVER: 4      BRONZE: 0      COMMENDED: 6
2018 GOLD: 1      SILVER: 4      BRONZE: 1      COMMENDED: 3

One year our tasters are talking about big fruit and big oak, the next they’re bemoaning bony tannins and squeaky green notes. From which we can conclude that the Alentejo is decidedly vintage sensitive.

2018 (which most of these wines were) is clearly an easier vintage to manage than the 2017s that dominated last year’s Sommelier Wine Awards (and attracted a fair bit of criticism from our teams). Taster after taster remarked on the exuberance of fruit – though even here they weren’t problem-free.

The best wines managed to pick early enough to retain freshness, and balance that natural fruit with the right amount of oak. The less popular wines saw jammy fruit and high alcohol, often backed up, for good measure, with too much oak influence. The result? Big, powerful blockbusters that could, frankly, have come from anywhere.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There was a lot of delicious ripe fruit here, but it felt like these all had the same end goal: to produce smoky, massive, oak-laden, rich reds, which was disappointing. It would have been better to see more regional identity.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘There were fantastic wines here offering good freshness, with some real stars. Portugal in general offers good value for money, and this is a very traditional region that has produced outstanding wines for a long time, at a price point that’s important for the market. They can offer good wines without breaking the budget.’ Sylwester Piasecki, Zuma

‘The difference, compared to the Douro, is in the tannins, with these more juicy and round, while the Douro can have more firm tannins. In this flight I didn’t see too much oak.’ Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant

‘The Alentejo is the region in Portugal where you find the most well-balanced wines, with fruit, complexity and alcohol. In the Douro most of the winemakers want to make prestige wines for putting in a cellar for 20 years, but here it’s the opposite. You get wines that you could drink in 20 years, but that taste good now, too.’ Carlos Ferreira, team leader

‘My image of Alentejo is of robust, chocolatey, spicy wines. The middle price bracket, between £9 and £12, were some of the most interesting, with a lot of complexity, and value for money.’ Olivier Gasselin, Hakkasan 

Award winners

Found 12 wines

Portugal: Alentejo – Red

Herdade do Peso, Alentejo, Reserva 2015, Alentejo, Portugal

Gold medal winner

A worthy Gold for team leader Jade Koch, who found it ‘round and full’ with ‘lots of blackcurrant’ and ‘very good grip’. For Dave Cushley of Prestonfield House it was ‘refreshing but with real depth’. He described ‘dark stewed fruit’ and found it ‘savoury, balanced and elegant’. Raphael Thierry of Street XO, meanwhile, thought it was a ‘big wine, with high alcohol, but showing good fruit concentration with hints of florality, graphite and chocolate, and a meaty character’, further noting: ‘Tannins are juicy, oak is integrated, finish is long.’

£17.57 Liberty Wines

D Diniz, Dona Vitória, Grande Escolha 2018, Alentejo, Portugal

Gold medal winner

‘Tea-soaked raisins on the nose, with happy balance and warm, dry bramble fruit,’ began team leader Jade Koch of this Gold Lister. She further described it as ‘juicy and refreshing’ and thought it had ‘good regional identity’. Raphael Thierry of Street XO noted: ‘Good fruit concentration, with sweet spice and some savoury notes and chocolate.’ He found it a ‘little sweet on the finish but long and balanced in a fruit-forward style’. Dave Cushley of Prestonfield House, meanwhile, picked up ‘dark brooding fruit’ and thought it ‘tastes like a decent Rhône’.

£8.12 Sociedade Agricola D Diniz SA

Esporão, Reserva, Tinto 2015, Alentejo, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Blackberry, savoury and gamey aromas, yet on the palate it is ripe with dark fruits, and a delicate chocolate length,’ said Valentin Radosav of Gymkhana Restaurant.

£9.87 Barwell and Jones

Azamor, Alentejano, Petit Verdot 2014, Alentejo, Portugal

Silver medal winner

Team leader Carlos Ferreira enjoyed this classic Alentejo red with its ‘complex nose of leather and ripe eucalyptus’. ‘The wine is complex and with intensity,’ he said, ‘yet the finish is fresh and clean.’

£13.17 Liberty Wines

D Diniz, Mocho Galego 2018, Alentejo, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘The nose is very elegant,’ said team leader Carlos Ferreira, ‘yet the palate is still greenish.’ He summed it up by saying: ‘A bit big, but the fruits are all there in the end and they do the job very well.’

£6.37 Sociedade Agricola D Diniz SA

D Diniz, Roda Manca 2018, Alentejo, Portugal

Silver medal winner

Olivier Gasselin of Hakkasan described ‘dark chocolate, dark plums’ and an ‘almost meaty texture to the wine’, with ‘tight, robust and sweet grippy tannins that last through to the finish’.

£6.48 Sociedade Agricola D Diniz SA

D Diniz, Monte da Ravasqueira, Clássico 2018, Alentejo, Portugal

Commended medal winner

D Diniz, Dona Vitória, Premium 2018, Alentejo, Portugal

Commended medal winner

D Diniz, Dona Vitória, Coleção Privada 2018, Alentejo, Portugal

Commended medal winner

D Diniz, Mocho Galego, Signature 2018, Alentejo, Portugal

Commended medal winner

D Diniz, Vinha da Coutada, Velha 2018, Alentejo, Portugal

Commended medal winner

Herdade Tinto e Branco, Quinta do Paral, Tinto 2017, Alentejo, Portugal

Commended medal winner

 

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