FORÇA PORTUGAL (9) – V.R. ALENTEJANO ‘TERRA D’ALTER’ (Basic)
On the tasting table a whole range of wines from Alentejo, made by the ‘brilliant’ TERRA D’ALTER winemaker PETER BRIGHT. Today 3 wines from the ‘basic’ range, in white, rosé and red.
The brand name Terra d’Alter is related to the ADEGA TERRAS DE ALTER in … Alter do Chão, northeast of Alentejo. The wine maker, Peter Bright, is a very talented Aussie. Het made wines in Australia, South-America and South-Africa. In 1992 Peter Bright was acclaimed as Red Wine Maker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge. The wines of Terra d’Alter are mostly produced from traditional Portuguese varieties, using a blend modern technology and traditional know-how.
TERRA D’ALTER BRANCO 2010 VINHO REGIONAL ALENTEJANO: the information on the back-label says us that the wine is made from ‘traditional’ Portuguese grapes. The technical sheet however gives more information: arinto and roupeiro, with small amounts of verdelho and … viognier! The vinification is modern: crushing, destemming, chilling, pressing, cold decanting for 48 hours, stainless steel tank fermentation at 12-14°C for 20 days, ageing on the fine lees for 3 months. Very light and bright colour. Very fresh and modern nose, a blend of yellow and fresh tropical fruits. On the palate, lively fresh and juicy, very good balance, quite surprising structure starting crispy fresh, then round, slightly fatty and mouth-filling (the effect of ageing on fine lees, I suppose), finishing refreshing and clean with mineral reminiscences… Perfectly made modern wine with no more pretentions but a glass full of pleasure. Great drinkability, fantastic wine for all kinds of informal moments where fun and sharing is more important than posh talks. Outstanding value/pleasure/fun for money!
TERRA D’ALTER ROSÉ 2010 VINHO REGIONAL ALENTEJANO: the technical sheet says aragonês with 20% other grapes mix… the back-label tells us about touriga nacional and aragonês… Well, aragonês is for sure. The vinification is modern: total destemming, short skin contact, cold pressing, and stainless steel vat fermentation with controlled temperature (14°C) for 15 days… However, the colour is really appealing, kind of salmon pink with a touch of orange. Fresh, fruity, floral and slightly spicy nose. On the palate, fresh attack, subtle fruit, aromatic herbs and some elegant floral nuances. The balance is more on the mild and round side, ripe fruit and alcohol (13% alc. / vol.) make it easy drinking and pleasant. I would have preferred a bit more freshness to bring it more in balance. But this is the kind of rosé most people will love. A nice all-rounder for informal moments. Good value/pleasure/fun for money!
TERRA D’ALTER TINTO 2009 VINHO REGIONAL ALENTEJANO: on the back-label, the varieties used for this wine seem to be sorted out alphabetically. On the technical sheet, the order gives probably the dominant grapes first: touriga nacional, aragonês, trincadeira and alicante bouschet. Not all ‘typically’ Portuguese, but let’s say ‘Iberian’ varieties. The vinification is modern: full destemming, soft crushing, cold soaking fermentation for 48 hours, stainless steel tank fermentation with controlled temperature (20-22°C) for 5 days with daily manual pump over, malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks and flirting with French oak for 6 months. Deep, intense colour, purplish-red, darker in the heart. The smell is quite old-fashioned appealing, a bit rustic, with loads of sun ripe fruit and some spices (liquorice?). On the palate, the wine is not exactly what you call ‘sophisticated’; it tastes deliciously rustic, juicy, fruity, full, round, smooth, warm (14,3% alc. / vol.!) and spicy. Could you pass me the grilled meat please? Outstanding value/pleasure/fun for money!
P.S.: for the Dutch readers, those three wines are imported by FLOR DEL VINO and available in wine shops for the incredible price of … € 6.50!!! Be quick, the price of these wines might rise as their fame increases!