Reviews 12: Herdade do Rocim
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I am a big fan of Portuguese wines in general, so it was good to have a chance to taste this range from a large (70 ha) and apparently well-resourced domain in the Lower Alentejo, run by Catarina Vieira. It was, in fact, the white wines which impressed me most, as the notes show.
The 2007 Rocim red wine is a 14% abv blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet, half oak-aged (and half of the oak American). Sweet, warm though rather unrefined aromas. The flavours are intense and deep, though seem a little less ripe than the aromas implied. There’s a lot there, though the flavours are assembled in a rather abrupt, assertive way; I’d like a little more purity, precision and finesse. I’m not convinced the American oak is a good idea here.
The 2008 Olho de Mocho Reserva, red wine is an intriguing blend of Syrah with Touriga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet – there can’t be many of those in existence. The whole blend has been oaked for 11 months, with a blend of 80% French and 20% American. It’s very dark in colour, with soupy aromas: sweet fruit, some minty-leafy scents; savoury and four-square on the palate with plenty of acidity and a little textural tannin. Sound and well-made.
The 2007 Vale de Mata Reserva is mainly Syrah and Touriga Nacional with Aragonez this time (60%); this is from a different location (Vinho Regional Lisboa), from land owned by Catarina’s grandfather. Presumably a cooler location: I found this rather an austere, acidic wine: hard, edgy, thrusting. Inky tannins, too – which I relish, but only when allied with richer, warmer fruits.
The 2009 Rocim white wine (a blend of Antão Vaz, Arinto and Roupeiro varieties) is unoaked, with soft, understated, subtle aromas of celery leaf, lemon and lavender. On the palate, it is vinous, full, softly articulated and magnificently drinkable: ripely lemony acidity backing gently allusive, vegetal flavours. This is one of those whites which makes you wonder why Portugal never seems to get the acclaim it deserves – and wonder, too, why Portuguese white grape varieties aren’t more widely planted in the southern hemisphere. Perhaps it is their subtlety of expression which works against them? ◊!
The 2009 Olho de Mocho Reserva white wine is pure Antão Vaz, with ‘a small percentage’ finishing fermentation in oak (80% French, 20% American). Intriguing aromas of banana, butter and moist sand, with smooth, soft-contoured flavours of salty lemon and gentle fennel; a little leafiness, too. Another un-showy, vinous, highly drinkable white of graceful natural articulation, though I suspect the white Rocim itself offers better value. The oak is well-judged: it just tickles a little creaminess into the wine, but leaves no overt print.
AJ Reviews: all reviews are based on unsolicited samples. Submission of a sample does not guarantee a review. If sending a sample, please use recyclable packing materials (cardboard) if possible. Reviews can be quoted provided www.andrewjefford.com is cited as source. No scores: too boring, too obsessive, too falsely precise. Coups de Coeur (a particular and possibly irrational enthusiasm) are indicated by ◊!