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Posted by portugalpress on August 03, 2017

Some months ago I mentioned this wine here, as I have had the opportunity to try it at various stages of maturation since it was produced in 2015.

I’m very surprised that no other Algarve producer has so far made a Syrah/Viognier blend, considering that they are without a doubt the two foreign grape varieties that have best adapted to the Algarve terroir and that they are blended so successfully elsewhere.

There are numerous blends of these grapes made in Australia and South Africa for instance, but it all started in France’s Northern Rhone, specifically with the great wines of Côte Rotî.

The Syrah and Viognier crop stood out for their quality in the 2015 harvest at the Quinta dos Vales vineyard near Lagoa and owner Karl Heinz Stock decided to challenge his winemaking team to produce their own variation of the blend.

Making such a wine here is an altogether different matter than in the cool climate of the Northern Rhone. Here, the Syrah red is a bold and powerful wine, quite different to the lighter style of Syrah made in cooler climes.

The percentage of the white Viognier grapes added to the blend for this wine (25%) was therefore considerably higher than is typically added in Côte Rotî where just 10% is the norm.

The grapes were fermented together and the wine spent 12 months in French oak casks (mostly used casks) before bottle ageing. Just 5,000 bottles have been produced and the wine is available exclusively at Intermarché Lagos.

This is a wine that will appeal to those of us who enjoy a lighter style of red wine, specifically the texture we would associate with Pinot Noir. On the nose the typical blackberry and peppery note of Syrah are there along with fresh floral notes, without a hint of obvious oak.

In the mouth, the wine is elegant and smooth with very fine tannins and a touch of acidity, while the finish is long and clean. The wine is ready to drink now but I would expect it to age well for another 4 or 5 years at least. Food-wise this is a very versatile wine, a red that is very well suited to serving slightly chilled at this time of year.

Marquês dos Vales Syrah/Viognier is on offer this week at Intermarché Lagos with a special launch price of €14.99 (until Monday, August 7). The price will then increase to €16.99.

By Patrick Stuart

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