This is the estate wine that leads the charge at this exquisitely-positioned winery in the south of the Alentejo region. The Quinta wine is more than just a step up from the Florão, it is a focused red that brings power and elegance, complexity and finesse, taking it to a level that many famous Alentejo Reserva's can't quite reach.
It shows delicious balsamic notes with blackcurrants and spice, a well-defined structure with generous tannins and a bag full of forest fruits on the finish. Very classy, broad and lush.
Based heavily around the Alicante Bouschet grape variety, there is a supporting cast of grape varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Trincadeira, Syrah and Alfrocheiro - that allow for the fleshy, rich and ripe red flavours of the Alicante Bouschet to be supported with tannin, colour and alternative versions of flavours from the soils that the winery occupies.
Alicante Bouschet itselt often has a sort of beetroot character (earthy, soft and very red!) that here acts as a superb structure around which the others add their contributing elements. It's a cracking recipe that you can find all over the Alentejo, but here is particularly impressive because of the age of the vines and the balance that these vineyards possess.
Owned by the hugely important and influential Symington family, this winery is set in the hills to the north of Portalegre on the slopes of the São Mamede mountain range, the highest in the whole of the Alentejo region. This gives the vines cooling night time temperatures, allowing for the presence of all those unctious, irresistible red and dark fruit flavours we've come to expect from the Alentejo, but with balancing freshness and acidity - magic.
The vineyards themselves are mostly made of schistous and granitic soils that are critically poor in fertility, yet full of mineral content. This combination encourages great depth of vinestock and increases the quality of the grapes that grow there. It's also a distinct difference to many of the other regions in the Alentejo that have more fertile soils - though they can copy the sort of flavours you get in these finer wines, you'll never get the same elegance and finesse. That's why the Symington family have only recently bought the estate - they were only going to get something that was good enough for their own high standards.
This isn't the "top" red that they make, but grape for grape (euro for euro), it is the leading wine of the winery and has few peers in the region. This is the first vintage that was made under the Symington's eyes and with the family input - from what the critics say, there's not a massive difference in the quality, which was always outstanding, and the benefit of financial security that a big company brings is only going to allow things to get better.
Grape(s): Trincadeira, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante Bouschet, Alfrocheiro
Style: Svelte, Soft, Smooth, Silky, Medium Full, Juicy, Fruity, Elegant, Broad
Best food matches: Veal, Pork, Pizza, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Charcuterie