Bacalhôa Peninsula de Setúbal
Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal is the new name for J P Vinhos, a significant producer in the Peninsula de Setúbal with some 500-600 ha of vineyards, some in the neighbouring regions of Alentejo and Lisboa. The best have good flavour and intensity. Tinto da Ânfora is a good, occasionally variable, gutsy example of Alentejo fruit and personality – mostly Aragonês (Tinta Roriz) with a little Trincadeira, Castelão and Alfrocheiro Preto, oak-aged in wood of mixed origins.
Much better but at a price is a Grande Escolha version made in the best years. Full and concentrated with deep spice, cedar and savoury notes, it is aged in 100% new Allier oak for 8 months. The age worthy Quinta do Bacalhôa is a single-estate wine, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon but with 10% Merlot, that tastes not unlike a slightly rustic, earthy Graves – a ripe, meaty, characterful example with ample earthy blackcurrant fruit and depth. With a terroir not dissimilar to the Left Bank in Bordeaux, this wine is clearly aimed at the claret lover.
The wine is very age worthy. The fleshier Palacio de Bacalhôa features more Merlot. Whites, too, are not without character, especially recent addition Quinta do Bacalhôa, a rich, ripe twist on a Bordeaux blend with Alvarinho fleshing out the Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Cova da Ursa is a barrel-fermented Chardonnay that is flavoursome but better balanced and more restrained than in early efforts.
Other well-known brands include a light, dry Catarina based on Fernão Pires with a barrel-fermented Chardonnay component, and adequate fruity Monte das Ânforas red and white. J P Tinto and Branco are the basic red and white. Sparkling wine, both Loridos Bruto, (from Castelão and Fernão Pires), and Loridos Chardonnay are produced from grapes grown in Lisboa. Newish varietals under the Só label (‘Só’ meaning ‘only’) are Syrah (from 99) and Touriga Nacional (2001). Both are now powerful and concentrated with impressive depth and flavour length. Fortified vintage and rare Rosso Moscatel de Setubal are very good, with lovely depth of flavour and balance.
To find out more about Bacalhôa and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide Portugal..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines.