Herdade do Peso, Colheita Alentejo Tinto 2016
The Guedes family had always rated the quality of the Herdade do Peso grapes – they had been using them in their Vinha do Monte wines since the early 1990s – and jumped at the opportunity to purchase the estate in 1996. Situated in the south of the Alentejo, in the sub-region of Vidígueira, the Herdade do Peso estate covers a total of 457 hectares, 160 hectares of which are currently planted with vines. Winemaker Luís Cabral de Almeida makes expressive and generous wines that reflect the warmer climate of the Alentejo.
Despite its southerly location, Vidígueira is one of the cooler Alentejo sub-regions and benefits from cool Atlantic air funnelled inland from the coast by a gap in the surrounding mountains. Limestone soils help to control vine vigour and lend elegance to the wines. All of the Herdade do Peso vineyards are sustainably farmed and an on-site dam provides much-needed water to irrigate the vineyards during the Alentejo summers.
The start of the year was dry and warm, triggering budbreak around two weeks earlier than in 2015. Below average temperatures in spring mitigated the early start to the season and vegetative growth was subsequently slower with flowering and ripening occurring later than usual. Summer was particularly hot and this slightly slowed the rate at which the vines matured. Nevertheless, healthy grapes were harvested at the optimum level of ripeness.
Grapes from some of the best vineyard plots were selected for the Colheita Tinto. After total destemming and gentle crushing, the must was fermented and macerated in stainless-steel tanks, with regular pumping over, at a controlled temperature of 28oC for around 12 days. After malolactic fermentation, the wines were matured in used French oak barrels for 12 months. After final blending, it underwent a light fining and filtration, but was bottled without cold stabilisation, so a natural deposit may form in the bottle.
This wine is vibrant ruby in colour. On the nose there are concentrated aromas of forest fruits, hints of herbs and a lovely spiciness from the oak ageing. On the palate, it is smooth, rich and full-bodied, with elegant tannins providing structure and a lifted acidity carrying the flavours onto the long finish.