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Tasting notes from The Peninsula de Setúbal

by Tom Cannavan, 11/10

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Setúbal and Palmela.


Cooperativa de Santo Isidro de Pegões, Nico Ten Branco 2009, IGP
10% alcohol and 10% residual sugar. Sweet, bright, floral and grapey fruit. The off-dry palate has a fresh, crisp flavour and nice sipping appeal. 84/100.

Casa Ermelinda Freitas, Sauvignon Blanc & Verdelho 2009, IGP
13.5%. Hints of a tropical fruit quality, with plenty of orangy fruit and a glimpse of green fig. The palate hints at being off-dry, but then decent acidity comes through, though the wine seems a little disjointed to me - sweet, a touch dilute on flavour, with some alcoholic heat. 83/100.

Malo-Tojo Estates, Platinum Reserva Branco 2009, IGP
13.5%. Chardonnay with 10% Arinto, fermented and aged 3 months in French oak. The barrel marks this quite strongly with a toasty, vanillin note, and beneath there is bold orchard fruit. An attractive Chardonnay character. On the palate this has very good acidity and lots of pleasing, punchy, bold, lemony fruit and acidity (possibly the Arinto influence), but the juiciness of the tart apple charcter again and then just softened and teased in the finish by a lovely quality of oak. Yet another Chardonnay? Possibly, but very stylishly done indeed. 8./100.

Adega de Palmela, Vale dos Barris Branco 2009, IGP
13%. A blend of Fernão Pires and Moscatel. Nicely floral and leafy, a hint of geranium and plenty of crunch. The palate has fresh, appetising fruit and a finish that hints at being off-dry. 84/100.


Adega de Palmela, Vale dos Barris Syrah 2009, IGP
14%. Slightly neutral nose, a little soft cherry fruit. Quite fresh, with a nice grippy black cherry quality. Firm, chewy tannins in a fresh, unoaked style. Grippy and good quality. 86/100.

Marcolino Freitas e Filho, Fontebarreira Tinto 2009, IGP
13%. Castelão and French varieties. Nicely rounded nose, plenty of ripe black fruit. Firm and juicy palate, quite aggressive tannins again but that does give it great freshness. Juciy finish. 85/100.

Sivipa, Ameias Syrah 2009, IGP
14.5%. Very round and forward berry fruits. Nice black cherry sweetness. Nice tannins here, but retains a nice violetty lift to the fruit. Plenty of grip and decisive tannins and really very attractive. 88/100.

Sivipa, Ameias Aragonês 2009, IGP
14%. A slightly more meaty, earthy but less distinctive nose. The fruit is less pronounced, but this has a dry, rustic appeal, though it is dry. 85/100.

Casa Ermelinda Freitas, Trincadeira 2008, IGP
14.5%. Masses of minty, modern and flashy new oak here, lots of chocolate and coffee and glossy black fruit. On the palate the fruit is ripe, thick and black, with great concentration and a long, bittersweet finish. Very modern, very international, but good. 88/100.

Adega de Pegões, Touriga Nacional 2008, IGP
13.5%. Eight months in small oak barrels. Slightly reductive, this does begin to show some cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Maybe just a glimpse of something more floral, but pretty closed. The palate has a juiciness to it, and a nice quality of sweet black fruit comes through. This has considerable concentration and a grippy, grainy tannic structure, but does finish with plenty of fruit. Another interesting wine that might be better in a few years. 89/100.

Lobo, Syrah / Touriga Nacional Colheita Seleccionada, IGP
14%. Eight months in small French oak barrels. Ripe red fruits, a certain smokiness, a touch of red liquorice. The palate has juicy fruit, the dry, cherry skin tartness of the acidity giving a nice bittersweet grip along with firm tannins, the oak just adding a slightly drying note to the finish. 87/100.

Malo-Tojo Estates, Platinum Reserva 2008, IGP
14%. Big, ripe, glossy nose, lots of chocolate and black plum depth. Some nice oak here, and a certain blackcurranty depth of fruit. (Might be some Cabernet in the blend?). The palate has lots of sweetness, the chewy, deep fruit offset by lots of French oak, but this is excellent in a very international style. 89/100.

Companhia das Quintas, Pegos Claros Garrafeira Tinto 2005, DO Palmela
14.5%. 40-year-old Castelão vines, fermented in lagars and aged 24 months in French oak. Quite meaty, quite cedary and dense, with a great depth of fruit and the rounding vanillin note of the oak. The palate has a lovely sweet depth of fruit, the grippy, sandy tannins and good acidity playing against that plumskin, roughening depth of fruit. Plenty of spice, but finishes with nice length and persistence. 90/100.

Companhia das Quintas, Pegos Claros Tinto 2005, DO Palmela
14%. 40-year-old Castelão vines, fermented in lagars and aged 12 months in French and Portuguese oak. Smoky bacon fat notes, lots of toasty barrel showing here, with sweet black fruit striking the palate, quite chocolaty and rich, the sweet fruit and charry component making this rich but with plenty of easy-drinking charm too. 88/100.

Hero do Castenheiro, Tinto 2005, DO Palmela
14%. Oak-aged Castelão. A fair bit of maturity to the colour and the nose here, with coffee and earthy notes very appealing, the fruit spicy and quite bright and cherryish. The palate is perhaps a little lean, the fruit just falling away slightly, but it has a very pleasing balance of tannins and acidity, the oak adding some plumpness and spice. Drinking really well now, but not for keeping. 87/100.

Sociedade das Soberanas, Herdade da Soberana Tinto 2005, IGP
14.%, Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Alfrocheiro aged 18 months in French oak. Developed colour and aromas, big, soft, open nose with a depth of gently smoky fruit, plenty of cedary oak and a sense of plump, rounded, softening character. The palate has lovely harmony and composure, the fruit melded very harmoniously with the oak and the tannins a touch dry but adding lots of spicy grip and a little liquorice nip. 90/100.

Sociedade das Soberanas, S de Soberana Tinto 2005, IGP
14.5%. Made only in exceptional years, 100% Alicante Bouschet aged 32 months in new French oak and a further year in bottle. Hugely ripe, almost bloody nose, with those gamy qualities melding with a little leather character and supporting oak. The fruit is to the fore here though. On the palate this has fabulous sweetness: yes, it is a modern, flattering style, but the espresso-licked depth of the cassis and plum fruit is joyous, and the creamy tannins and good acidity, as well as that supporting oak breadth, make for a seriously impressive mouthful of wine. 91/100.

Casa Assis Lobo, Lobo Mau Tinto 2004, DO Palmela
14%. 85% Castelão, 15% Touriga Nacional. 24 months in Portuguese, French and American oak, then one year in bottle. Maturing rim of brick red, and maturity on the nose too with some gamy charcter and a touch of Muscavado sugar, some brackeny qualities and nice berry fruit beneath. The palate has perhaps a little less fruit than I would like, though it finishes with a pleasant, savoury depth. 88/100.

Hero do Castenheiro, Hero da Machoca Grande Escolha Tinto 2001, DO Palmela
14.2%. Castelão-based blend, aged in oak. Lightly oxidised, with some brown sugar and berry fruit. A touch of creamy oak with that hint of decaying leaves of an old wine. On the palate plenty of sweet, old fruit. Soft oak and nice tannins make for a really pleasing drink: plenty of pleasure to be had here for current drinking. 88/100.


Casa Agrícola Assis Lobo, Lobo Roxo Moscatel de Setúbal 2007
17%. Quite a dark amber/tawny. Very leafy and geranium-like, with hints of nuttiness. The palate has a lovely marmalade tang, the rich, round fruit is deliciously mouth-filling and the acidity is balanced. 88/100.

Venâncio da Costa Lima, Moscatel de Setúbal
17%. Bright golden colour. Again that definite geranium lift, with plenty of bright, floral and herbal aromatics. The palate is quite luscious and honeyed, with more bright, tangy, apricotty flavours and relatively soft acidity. 88/100.

Venâncio da Costa Lima, Reserva Moscatel de Setúbal 2003
17%. Dark, tawny colour. Nutty and deep, with more coffee and raisin qualities, obviously much longer time in barrel for this. Some of that leafy, floral charcter too. The palate has those developed honey and tea-like flavours, delicious toffee sweetness, and a fine acidity to balance and extend the finish. 90/100.

Horácio dos Reis Simões, Moscatel de Setúbal Superior 10 Anos
195.60g/l residual sugar. 17%. Dark, nut brown/tawny colour. Has a subdued, older character with little of the Muscat's floral exuberance. Aromas are more of stewed tea and nuts, a little caramel. The palate has full sweetness, the marmalade orange tang and cappuccino richness of the wine giving huge depth and intriguing layers of contemplative complexity. Fantastic acidity sparks it into life, in a profound and deliciously alive wine. 93/100.

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