Quinta do Mouro Trincadeira 2015
The 2015 Quinta do Mouro Trincadeira is a ruby color. Aromas of ripe black and blue fruit, forest and floral notes, some mushrooms and earthiness exude from the glass. In the tasting it has a vibrant freshness and acidity, well balanced with the structure, in an elegant and sophisticated whole, revealing the full potential of one of the best grape varieties of Alentejo.
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The 2015 Trincadeira was aged for 12 months in new 300-liter French oak barrels. It comes in at 14% alcohol. This is the debut vintage and an impressive one it is. I rarely see Trincadeira this elegant and fresh. It is also structured and concentrated. Showing focus and intensity on the finish, this was obviously well handled in the vineyard. The fruit is lifted and lively. We'll see where this goes, but it looks like a big winner so far, a nice addition to the Mouro stable. I expect this to improve in the cellar. We'll have to take that as trial-and-error, though. It needs a couple of years of cellaring for sure, and then it looks like a vin de garde—vaguely approachable but able to age a long while.
The small winery is the stage for a unique and bold approach, where science and poetry combine, in a permanent dialogue and confrontation with some procedures of contemporary oenology. Miguel Louro relies on the manual harvesting, criteriously choosing the grapes in the vineyard in their optimal picking status; on the foot threading in lagares with separation by variety; on spontaneous fermentations using indigenous yeasts; on the use of rustic Portuguese oak barrels along with the more elegant French barrels; and on minimalist artisinal methods in the winery, all of the above preserving the essence of Estremoz’ s unique terroir.
Responsible for a majority of Portugal’s fine wine production—and over half of the world’s cork production—Alentejo represents a major force in Portugal’s wine industry. This southern Portugese region is characterized by stretches of rolling plains and vineyards dotted with majestic cork oaks. Access to land enables the farmers of Alentejo to produce wines in great economies of scale, without compromising quality, compared to those regions to the north. The region of Alentejo indeed covers a third of the country.
Its classified (DOP) wines must come from one of eight subregions, where elevations are a bit higher, air cooler and less fertile soils are perfect for vines. The optimal regions are Portalegre, Borba, Redondo, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Granja-Amareleja, Vidigueira, Evora and Moura. Alentejo is not without the conveniences of modern winemaking as well. Irrigation supplements low rainfall and temperature control in the winery assures high quality wines.
The potential of the area has attracted many producers and its wine production continues to grow. Alentejo’s charming, fruit-forward wines have naturally led to local and global popularity.
White wines tend to be blends of Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Arinto. However, in growing proportions, the white grapes Verdelho, Alvarinho and Viognier have been enjoying success. But red varieties actually exceed whites in Alentejo. Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Castelão grapes blend well together and are responsible for most of the Alentejo reds.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal and Italy are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.