Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira
This time I’m heading to Redondo town. Well, to the Roquevale town to be more exact, which is located on the road between Redondo and Serra D’Ossa. The company owns two estates totaling 185 ha, Herdade da Madeira Nova de Cima with its schist soils is focused on the production of red wines and Herdade do Monte Branco with its granitic soils is more oriented to the production of white wines. Nowadays, the company that is the second largest private company in Alentejo has a production of wine around 3 million liters per year and is leaded by the winemaker Joana Roque do Vale.
Joana Roque do Vale always has always held hands with the world of wine, ever since her childhood in Torres Vedras where her great-grandfathers produced wine. After the April revolution her father, Carlos Roque do Vale, decided to move to Redondo town to take care of two estates which belonged to his father in law (who had already initiated the vineyard plantation there in 1970). Roquevale was born in 1983 from a partnership between Carlos Roque do Vale and his father in law. Joana’s path was sealed, the world of wine was her second home and at a glance she had already made her internship at Herdade do Esporão. She learned with the best, her internship coordinators were the engineer Francisco Colaço do Rosário and the winemaker Luís Duarte (who ate the time was also Roquevale’s consultant). After finishing the course she started working in the family’s company where she would shortly get in charge of the company’s oenology.
The wine highlighted in this vertical tasting was considered for many years the company’s top-end brand and its name is Tinto da Talha Grande Escolha that shows us the two best grape varieties of each harvest. The tasting began with the 2003 vintage up until the 2010, showing in all the vintages a wine that faced the passing of time with naturalness and showed no signs of old age. This wine has always underwent a pass through new barrels. In the earlier vintages stands out the regular presence of Touriga Nacional that was always being interspersed with Aragonês or Syrah, which would then give its place to Alicante Bouschet matching with Syrah or Aragonês. The 2009 was the only year in which Touriga Nacional was joined with Alicante Bouschet.
The one I liked the most was the 2010 (Aragonês/Touriga Nacional). It showed a duo in perfect harmony in a set full of life with plenty of ripe fruit and some vegetal. It’s ample, gluttonous, exuberant with a bit of rusticity, in a good and faithful tone to the region and asking for food around. The 2008 Aragonês/Alicante Bouschet is also very good, showing a full and gluttonous set with cacao, juicy fruit slightly sweet, all balanced and fresh, and balm in the background. The palate is tasty and balanced with tannins slightly marking the finish. The 2003 follows the same tone and puts together Touriga Nacional and Aragonês, which being the first vintage showed up in good shape putting together a beautiful set freshness (with thin balm) with ripe red fruit, leather, spices, in a “still with energy” average body and a long finish. The Tinto (red) da Talha Grande Escolha 2009 brings together Touriga Nacional with Alicante Bouschet. Starts off with a fresh vegetal and ripe fruit with a sweet note, somewhat chemical at first, all very new and full of steam and tasty, good freshness but a shorter finish than I expected.
The Aragonês/Syrah 2007 is among all the one that speaks the less, closed with a chemical aroma at first, cacao, pepper, fruit wrapped in jam, freshness wrapping everything and tasty mouth, in the background shows strawberry candy with balsamic in a set well-structured, well-supported and persistent. A wine that has still plenty to give and it’s currently undergoing changes. The 2004 vintage Syrah/Touriga Nacional is a red with vigorous fruit, plenty of pepper with milk chocolate, round and closely-knit and a slight vegetal in the background. Shows clean and tasty fruit, acid cherry, blackberry, easy to like. The 2005 Touriga Nacional/Aragonês showed a wine more open and spaced, shy but showing Roquevale’s nature quite clearly. Much better in the mouth and if the nose was as excellent this would be a tremendous wine. For last I left the 2006 Syrah/Touriga Nacional which I liked the least. In the glass there were to many chemical aromas with strong vegetal, a rough set, very smoky and some rusticity. Slightly fresh in the mouth with some fruit, medium body and not following the tone of its brothers in arms.