And the winner is...
Tagus Creek Shiraz/Trincadeira 2010
Winemaker João Portugal Ramos is one of Portugal’s great modernisers, though he admits it’s only recently he has allowed today’s much improved machine harvesters to “step on grapes.”
Shiraz and Trincadeira for this entry level red are still hand picked, so it’s not difficult to understand why Ramos has earned a reputation for making wines with an excellent price quality ratio, or why Tagus Creek is one of the best performing Portuguese brands in the UK market.
Of course, it helps that, developed with UK-based Portuguese specialist importer Oakley Wine Agencies, the brand features an export-friendly label and blend of grapes, but Ramos is quick to point out that Trincadeira is one of Alentejo’s oldest most traditional varieties and, while Shiraz may not originate from Portugal, “it’s by far the international variety that performs better and is very well adapted to our region – it’s Shiraz from Portugal.
” Above all, he says, this Southern Red Trophy Winner typifies the Alentejo, “with its strong accent of ripeness without being jammy.”
The panel were particularly enamoured with this unoaked wine’s delicate aroma of violets and impressed by its soft yet fresh palate given the hot summer of 2010. Ramos explains that the wettest spring ever recharged the ground’s water reserves, so the grapes were very juicy and fresh, while gentle handling and cold maceration account for its perfume and “soft but present tannins.”
It also helps that, from vineyards at around 350m above sea level, cool nights temper warm days, preserving acidity. This every day quaffer has bags of charm.
Written by Sarah Ahmed