In Portugal, day 2

Another day of relaxation under the blue Alentejo sky. We began the day with a cycle ride round the vineyard before breakfast, and since then we’ve spent the best part of the day poolside.

Last night’s dinner at the restuarant here at Malhadinha Nova was really impressive.

Starter of tuna tartare with wasabi ice cream was a great combination, brilliantly executed. The tuna was really tender and textured, and the heat of the wasabi was nicely countered by the coldness of the ice cream.

This was a pumpkin ravioli paired with a couple of steaks of dogfish, and the flavours worked really well.

This steak comes from the farm’s own bullocks. Lovely flavour.

A serious dessert: a delicious egg custard with grape sauce.

The wines? We had several, and they showed what a consistently excellent portfolio Malhadinha Nova possesses, placing it among the forefront of Alentejo producers. We began with the 2010 Antao Vaz, a brilliantly flavourful yet fresh unoaked white with a bit of pithy bite and intense, but not harsh citrus flavours, as well as some melon and peach. We then revisited the Peceguina white 2010, which is just so fresh and intense, with lovely fruit – one of the wine world’s bargains. Then the more ambitious Malhadinha branco 2010, which has subtle oak influence as well as complex, slightly spice peach and citrus fruit, together with hints of fig. Moving onto reds, the varietal Aragonez shows great concentration and depth of fruit, with noticeable oak. But it carries this oak well, and I reckon this will age into a mellow, harmonious red. The Malhadinha tinto 2008 is super, combining depth of ripe fruit with some grippy structure and great definition. Delicious now, it will evolve well over the next five to ten years, I reckon.

Continuing in a food theme, this was our lunch: Serpa cheese on vine leaves (Tinta Miuda, apparently) with some pata negra ham.

2 comments to In Portugal, day 2

  • Jamie, it’s interesting that you describe the Malhadinha wines recurrently using words such as freshness, pithiness, citrus, grip. I remember these wines as being very ripe, creamy in texture, with high alcohol, and the whites resembling New World Viognier more than anything else. (Admittedly it’s been a couple of years since I looked at the entire range). Do you think they adjusted their style slightly?

  • Gabriel

    On first reading I thought you said the meat came from the farmer’s own bollocks. Eek!

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