Quinta Dona Maria Alentejo
The Quinta, also known as Quinta do Carmo, is an arrestingly beautiful 18th century estate in Estremoz at around 400m. Owner Julio Tassara de Bastos, who still resides there, clearly has a knack with wines because his very first, Quinta do Carmo Garrafeira 1986 (made by João Portugal RAMOS), created waves following its release. Tasted in 2009, it was still impressively spicy, structured and vigorous. Not long afterwards, he was approached by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), to whom he sold 50% of the company, including the Quinta do Carmo brand, in 1992. Under Lafite, winery operations were moved to Herdade das Carvalhas and Bastos sold his interest in the company around 2000, retaining only the Alicante Bouschet vineyard. Bastos has restored the old winery at Quinta Dona Maria, with its huge marble lagares and cement tanks. Reds feature old vine Alicante Bouschet and grapes from younger plantings of Alicante Bouschet, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon (to which he reckons Lafite cuttings lend a capsicum note), Aragones and Touriga Nacional, Viognier and Sémillon for whites. Julio Bastos is a powerful, sinewy and mineral old vine Alicante Bouschet, regarded as among Portugal’s best and priced accordingly. The red Reserva is an elegant, beautifully structured blend of Alicante Bouschet, Petit Verdot and Syrah with a dusty minerality. Amantis red (Syrah, Petit Verdot and Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon and dash of Touriga Nacional) and white (Viognier with a dash of Sémillon) are more accessible but are nonetheless polished wines. Dona Maria Branco has a more traditional core of Antão Vaz, with Arinto and Douro variety Viosinho for balance, the latter varieties bringing freshness and minerality. The estate makes a good textured just dry rosé too. All in all, this is a class act with much potential. (SA)
To find out more about Quinta Dona Maria 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.