Portugal’s Alentejo region, set between Lisbon and the Algarve, is dominated by cork forests and olive groves. In the early 19th century, Thomas Reynolds moved here from Oporto, chiefly to become involved in the cork business.
Three generations later, his grandson, John Reynolds, purchased a 900 hectare property – Herdade do Mouchão. In addition to the family’s cork activities, he set about making wine. Vineyards were planted and in 1901 he built a high-ceilinged adobe winery (“adega”).
Following the 1974 revolution, the estate was expropriated and only returned to the family in 1985. Today, the Herdade do Mouchão continues to be run by the descendants of the original family whose cellar and vineyard workers have been with them for generations.
Dom Rafael was first released in 1990 as the second wine of the estate and named after one of the founders of the Herdade do Mouchão 100 years previously. It is a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Trincadeira and Aragonez, vinified in lagares in the traditional way and aged in large wooden vats with a proportion in barrels for 12 months and released after a further 6 months in bottle.
Dark and brooding in appearance with a nose that is rich and rounded with spice and dark chocolate notes. The palate is full and mellow with dark fruit, leather and warming spice flavours.
Originally started by a group of growers, SIVIPA (Sociedade Vinicola de Palmela) is now the company name enveloping all wines made by the Cordoso family. Whilst Filipe Cordoso is in control as winemaker, the vineyards are still owned and maintained by his siblings and cousins, distributed as inheritance from previous generations.
The main winery is that of Quinta do Piloto, in Palmela. This winery, along with its concrete fermentation vessels, dates back beyond that of SIVIPA, as it has been in the Cordoso family for 3 generations.
Their 400 hectares of vines can mainly be found on the flat, sandy soils of the penisula, to the East of Palmela with the Moscatel (Muscat) grown on higher altitude sites.
The sweetness of this wine is achieved by adding grape spirit at an early stage in the fermentation process, taking the alcohol level up to 17%.
The wine displays all the hallmarks of classic muscat from Portugal. A lovely rich golden colour, it has dried fruit, caramel, spices, florals and especially citrus orange peel on the nose . The palate is sweet marmalade flavours, and the 140 g/L residual sugar is balanced by great acidity.
Delightful paired with fruity puddings or just on its own!
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants