Amongst cork-oaks…



Grape typicity? Heck no – we’re dealing with an assemblage on Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah, Tinta Caiada, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez and Petit Verdot so focus lies on the only region in Portugal who could come up with such a mix; Alentejo.

The 2006 Perolivas Reserva from one of the country’s most interesting producers, Adega do Monte dos Perdigões, is somewhat of
a crowd pleaser but at the same time it shows complexity, ageing possibility and class. I’m starting to like the Alentejo wines. A lot! Along with Ribatejo the region has been, by me, the least appreciated for years but slowly I’m melting. The region is the world’s most important cork growing area and the cork’s has for years surpassed the wine production – until now?

By the way; did you know that:

– one mature oak tree will produce around 4,000 corks

– the trees are being stripped every nine years

– and the bark is harvested with hand-axes

– every single cork oak is registered

– the stripping of the bark is only done during summertime when the bark more easily can be removed

– the cork oak is the only tree we know that doesn’t take damage when stripping of the bark

– the cork industry yet has to find a mechanical way to harvest as efficient as by hand.

– the cork industry in Alentejo employs around 60,000 people

Back to Perolivas! The 2006 Reserva retailing at around EUR 12 in Portugal still shows a youthful colour and no signs of almost four years of evolvment. The bouquet shows signs of maturing but keeps changing during the whole evening it is followed.

Sun drenched blackberries and black currants, spices, scorched earth and fine oak showing vanilla, ground coffee and chocolate on the nose. With areation scents reminding of a northern Rhone Syrah emerges with white pepper and raw meat. Then, give two hours, I find that typical scent of Alentejo reminiscent of especially Alicante Bouschet dominated wines; overipe red apples and paint. It may sound odd and negative but it’s not – few regions master the heat as brilliant as in Alentejo and the wine never gets jammy.

Lovely structure with abundant amounts of fruit, compact tannin structure backing up the sun drenched blackberries well. A touch of sweet liqorice, raw meat, white pepper, toasted oak and a floral aftertaste. Long and in fine balance. Although up at 14,3 % one never reacts on the alcohol and the same can be said on the barrique aging – 12 months in new Allier oak is eathen up beautifully by the wine.

I have yet to find this wine outside of Portugal. It’s well worth seeking for and for wine importers – do check up Adega do Monte dos Perdigões portfolio in general. You will be impressed…

(2006 Perolivas Reserva, Adega do Monte dos Perdigões, Alentejo, 91 points)