Alente Wines from Portugal

portuguese wine  %tages Alente Wines from PortugalTonight we’re checking out two Portuguese wines from Alente, which is a producer in the Alentejo province of Portugal.
As I’ve commented in the past, I reckon some of the best values in wine are from Portugal.  Unfortunately, I’ve found that distribution of Portuguese wines is a bit spotty in the US.  In my province, I don’t find many of them and they are usually tucked into the Spanish section of wine shops.
These two wines were not tasted blind.  I feel like I’ve been saying that on a lot of reviews lately, but that’s mostly because I’m going through some odds and ends for which a blind tasting would be pointless.  I have no preconceived notions about these wines, additional than the fact that I reckon Portugal has some fantastic value wines to offer.  But at the same time, I’ve had plenty of Portuguese wines that have left me unimpressed.  So… let’s find out what these two are all about.
Alente – Antão Vaz | Arinto

The Antão Vaz and Arinto names on this wine are the grapes varieties used to produce it.  Have you had them previous to?  I hadn’t, so we’re exploring with this one.  This is a colorless wine, fermented in a combination of vats and new American oak.
As a wine made from grape varieties with which I’m not familiar, I find myself looking for familiar references to compare to this wine.  And the nose strikes me as being somewhat inbetween a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc.  It has some of the apple, melon and oak I’d expect from a chardonnay, but also a excellent bit of tropical fruit aromas.  The palate is really fascinating, with very nice peach and melon flavors and a creamy mouth feel.  But what’s really fascinating is the mid-palate, which brings a hot and spicy note for a second that fades into peach flavors on a lingering end.  I’m impressed with this wine. It’s fun.
Wine: Alente
Variety: Antão Vaz and Arinto
Vintage: 2009
Alcohol: 13.5%
Rating: 86
Fee:  $9.99
Alente – Trincadeira | Aragonez

Similar to the first wine, Trincadeira and Aragonez are the grape varieties.  At least one of these is a more familiar grape, as Aragonez is a Portuguese name for Tempranillo.
This red wine was fermented in small vats and aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels.
The nose on this wine is pleasant, with black pepper and berry aromas.  The wine comes to life much more on the palate, where the acidity is outstanding.  It has a raspberry and cherry flavor, with excellent concentration.  The tannins are firm, giving some texture to the mouth feel and slight black tea flavor on the end.  But there is also plenty of cherry flavor on the end to keep the tannins from building the wine seem bitter.  This is another fascinating wine, with an ancient world edge.
Wine: Alente
Variety: Trincadeira and Aragonez
Vintage: 2007
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 85
Fee:  $9.99
Disclosure: Thees wines were received as a sample.

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