Serious Alentejo wine
Alentejo producer Malhadinha Nova is a relative newcomer, but from the start their wines have received a hugely positive response from the press. This is my first chance to look at their top wine, Marias da Malhadinha, and I'm really impressed. It's certainly a ripe, warm climate wine with plenty of oak influence, but it works. A serious effort. There's a slight discrepancy between the technical fiche and the back label concerning the grape varieties - I'll assume the former is correct (the latter misses out the Alicante Bouschet component).
Marias da Malhadinha 2004 Vinho Regional Alentejo
A blend of 40% AragonÍs, 25% Alicante Bouschet, 15% Cabernet, 10% Syrah and 10% Touriga Nacional, aged for 26 months in new French oak. This is an intensely concentrated red with a sweet nose of ripe blackberry and plum fruit with complex spicy notes. The palate is dense and sweetly fruited with spiciness and smooth but firm tannins. This generous red wine is ripe but not jammy, and there's lovely balance between the sweet fruit and the more savoury, spicy elements. Massively intense and multilayered, this should age really well, and in terms of style it's similar to a high-end new-wave Rioja. 94/100 (08/08)