Caves Aliança Beiras
Once associated with the mediocrity of much Portuguese table wine, Caves Aliança has undergone a major transformation in the past decade and now provides much-improved quality at all levels. The company, which is majority owned by Group Bacalhôa, owns large estates in the Douro Superior, Beiras Interior, Dão and Alentejo. The basics are simple but increasingly well made, but much more interesting are the reasonably priced Bairrada Garrafeira, Douro Foral Grande Escolha, Palmela Particular and Dão Particular. From a good vintage these all show regional character and gain a savoury intensity with 3–5 years’ age. New premium wines see winemaker Francisco Antunes working with Pascal Chatonnet to produce high quality reds from individual estates: Quinta das Baceladas (Bairrada), Quinta da Garrida (Dão), Quinta dos Quatro Ventos (Douro) and Quinta da Terrugem in Alentejo. The latter, a blend of Aragonês (Tinta Roriz) and Trincadeira (70:30), is well made with a spicy, earth, berry and black plum character. First made in 99, T da Terrugem (90% Aragonês) is complex and classy, combining power and finesse, and promises to be a new classic Portuguese red – the 01 is also very fine. Quatro Ventos, primarily Touriga Franca and Tinta Barocca and a Reserva (mostly Tinta Rorizand Touriga Franca) are also well executed. The Baceladas Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Baga blend is individual but with true Bairrada character while two Bagas from Quinta da Rigodeira, especially Quinta da Dona (which is only made in top years from a single parcel within Rigodeira), are classy reds with well-managed firm but ripe tannins. Dão red Quinta da Garrida shows a classic Dão personality imbued with floral and mineral notes. A Touriga Nacional from Garrida is more concentrated and structured.
To find out more about Caves Aliança 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.