As Wine Spectator writes, in Portugal “prices are superb and quality has never been better.” Leading the way are winemakers like José Neiva, winner of the Premhio Senhor de Vinho (aka ‘The Mr. Wine Award’) by the country’s top wine magazine, in recognition for his major contributions to Portuguese wine.
José's friends called him aluado (moonstruck, or crazy) when he decided to make a pure Alicante Bouschet. But competition successes followed with multiple golds and 90+ point ratings – it's also been named a Wine EnthusiastBest Buy three vintages in a row. And the just-released 2017 has already scooped up a handful of big awards, including two gold medals, plus a 90-point, “excellent, highly recommended” rating from Ultimate Wine Challenge. Here’s what the judges had to say:
”This grape, prized as a blending component for its deep color, shines on its own here with raspberry coulis, cassis, and ripe black plum. This is a full-bodied red wine whose soft tannin make it easy to love on its own.”
Considering the effort José puts into the wine, all this acclaim is well deserved. The Alicante Bouschet grapes grow at José's Quinta do Porto Franco estate, 40 miles north of Lisbon. Here, he keeps a watchful eye on the vineyards, where plenty of sun and cooling Atlantic breezes help grapes ripen slowly, boosting the development of aromatic and flavor complexity. In the cellar, José gives the wine just adds a touch of oak aging, for lightly toasty finesse.
Jonathon Alsop, Boston Wine School Founder - "Alicante Bouschet is one of the very few red wine grapes that has red flesh as well. The color of the wine is intense and multi-dimensional thanks to all the red juice that even precedes the pigmentation that occurs as the wine ferments with its skins."