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Wine of the Week – Herdade da Malhadinha Nova 2006

It’s been a month and a half since the European Wine Blogger’s Conference, and shamefully, we’re just now getting around to not only retasting many of these wines, but simply entering our notes on the numerous great wines we tasted. Today, I want to point out a wine that I think is starting to mature gracefully and is worth your attention.

In 2006, I visited Herdade Malhadinha, while still in a learning phase regarding Alentejo wines. My palate was exercising itself to include a whole ranging of grapes and flavors I wasn’t used to. It was at Malhadinha that I first realized the great potential of the Alicante Bouschet grape having tasted a wine that was vibrant and alive after spending 16 months in oak.

Not surprisingly, the winery has grown fast, and now boasts a Spa/Country house that we have yet to visit, but I did see the beginnings of the construction last time I was there. From there website (warning heavy use of flash), you can get a feel for the facilities; and it appears to be a nice offering for the growing wine tourism industry of the Alentejo. Only a few hours by car from Lisbon, this is definitely something to check out if you craving a relaxing vacation in the Portuguese countryside.

So how are the wines? A few nights ago, we popped open a bottle of the 2006 Malhadinha Nova and were very impressed. A blend of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is foot trodded in a lagar and aged in French oak for 14 months. During my first trip, and subsequent tastings of their wines, I found that I liked the wines, but they seemed to be in a phase of sorting out their personality and identity. The 2006 feels as if its coming into its own, and the youthful exploration of the first few years is beginning to move to the refining stage. In short, we both enthusiastically give this wine our thumbs up. Full of fruit, perfumy nose and wonderful layers, this wine was open for hours, as we enjoyed it with grilled pork and artichokes. It is a modern styled wine, where its fruit is pure and up front, but still tastes of Portugal. aAnd from my experience of Portuguese wine, I would even say that it tastes of the Alentejo.

For me the “flavor” is something I wish I could explain, but personally my sensory memory of Portugal and Alentejo wines stems from our trip through the region back in 2003. Maybe it’s the soil, the air, or the memories, but there are times when I stick my nose into a glass and it brings me back to this place and time, a smell that has been reinforced many times since with subsequent trips.

This Alentejo wine is worth seeking out. Perfect for some backyard grilling, where smokey meats require a strong, yet juicy, wine to deal with their powerful flavors. Congrats to Herdade Malhadinha, and we look forward to tasting more of your wines as you further refine your style.

Ok and now a few housekeeping notes before we head into the weekend!

Hope you all have a great weekend! We’ll be meeting with some fellow bloggers on Sunday for tapas and then off to the north of Catalunya to meet with the cork producers. Evidently, they want to start a blog! Should be interesting to see what they have to say!
Ryan Opaz
Catavino, where we build custom tours in Portugal and tours in Spain. Contact us if you are interested in learning more! We'd love to make your dream trip a reality.

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