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Posted by portugalpress on January 25, 2018

The changing face of a classic

Tapada do Chaves is one of the most venerable names in Alentejo wine, the first producer to ever bring any recognition to the micro-region of Portalegre in the mountainous north of the Alentejo.

The brand has been around for some 100 years and back in the 1980s was recognised as one of the best in the Alentejo. But the winery failed to keep up with the boom and ever-increasing quality seen in the Alentejo during the 1990s and, by the turn of the century, had fallen into relative insignificance. This was until it changed hands for the first time at the turn of this decade.

Tapada do Chaves was taken over by one of Portugal’s most respected producers of sparkling wine, Murganheira from way up North, giving the winery a boost and upping quality. The old black and white label was replaced with the current design shown here on the 2013, made during Murganheira’s ownership.

Last year, however, saw the winery change hands again, this time to one of the Alentejo’s top producers, Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, famous for Cartuxa and for one of Portugal’s most expensive wines Pêra Manca.

Having tasted this 2013, it would appear that the new owners have taken over the winery in good shape, in terms of quality at least. I picked up this bottle in my local Intermarché supermarket, costing €14 and worth every cent.

This is a wine of great elegance, made from a blend of Trincadeira, Aragonês and Alicante Bouchet. On the nose there are subtle red and black berry fruit notes, well integrated oak and smooth tannins in the mouth with a dry spicy finish.

As the Portalegre micro-region, with its cooler climate and high-altitude vineyards, gains ever more prominence, it will be interesting to see what plans the new owners have in store.

By Patrick Stuart



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