The Alentejo is the most southerly Portuguese region from which we buy wine, with the attendant risk of excessive heat. But that is not to reckon with the instincts and 25-year experience of Peter Bright, the celebrated Australian who is one of the founding partners of this young estate. One of the first of the “Flying Winemakers”, he has been settled in Portugal with his native wife for many years now and arguably has more experience of the country’s varied vineyards than anyone else, allied to a top-notch technical know-how. He liked the soils of this corner and planted his flag here, with a view to making good value, modern wines from indigenous varieties. He has succeeded with a vengeance, so you can find in this range a brilliant collage of single varietal wines at very modest prices that offer you a fascinating view of some of Portugal’s most interesting varieties.
For a grape as widely planted as this is in Portugal, it has an astonishingly low profile, for it is a real character. Blessed with an ability to retain acidity in heat, it is perfectly suited to such a warm region as Alentejo, even if it does equally well in the Vinho Verde district. This example is a slender, intense and salty wine with personality to spare.
It has been gratifying to see the enthusiasm which this wine has garnered despite its improbable origin, for Alvarinho is commonly regarded as a grape of Vinho Verde and Galicia. But it does beautifully down in the Alentejo, too, as evidenced by this juicy, mouth-watering example.
Siria is the ancestral name for the grape more commonly called Ripeiro. Peter located a small plot of old vines of exceptional quality for this varietal bottling and 2012 is its first vintage. It is a plangently expressive, lithe and completely dry wine with a distinctive flavour and unusual length.
It is not every producer who is attracted to Alicante Bouschet, but Peter Bright never shrinks from an interesting engagement. The deep hue of this “cépage teinturier” is a given. But what took us completely by surprise was the relative finesse and purity of the fruit, as well as the innate balance of such a rollicking, high-octane wine. ~WineWise
Peter likens this grape to Pinot Noir, though it is established that it is, in fact, the same variety as the Douro’s Bastardo and the Jura’s Trousseau. Like all these wines, it has a remarkably clear fruit impression, basically one of succulent blackberries. Indeed, it could just rest on its laurels and please on that strength alone, but it has an insistent undertow of tarry earth and then a tell-tale saltiness in the finish. If you embrace this wine, we promise to bring you the wonderful Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Syrah and maybe even Alicante Bouschet as well.
Rather like the “basic” white of Quinta das Bageiras, this offers an unexpected quotient of character for such a modest price-tag. A panoply of white fruits and flowers on the nose lead to a lively and surprisingly substantial palate. ~WineWise