wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

abut12.gif (3207 bytes)
abut10.gif (3636 bytes)

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)


Portugal's Alentejo
Part 8:
Adega de Cartuxa

Do you know the first wine that really switched me on to Portuguese wines? It was back in the February 1999, when my wife bought a surprise bottle home from Bentalls in Kingston, which at the time had one of the best Portuguese ranges. It was the 1995 Cartuxa, and with its complex, silky, slightly funky fruit it had me hooked. This was when I decided to go track Portuguese wines closely.

So it was with great anticipation that we embarked on the last visit of this Alentejo trip to Adega de Cartuxa, and it was a big shame that we got such an indifferent reception. We had to wait for ages – it seemed that no one was able to receive us and that our appointment had fallen somewhere between the cracks. And then we got a pretty rapid fire tour and tasting. But at least the wines showed well.

The Adega was founded in 1896, and refurbished in the 1950s by Eugenio de Almeida. He’s the dude who the Foundation, Fundaçio de Eugenio de Almeida, is named after. As far as I could work out this is a Catholic convent that is involved in various agricultural projects. Altogether there’s an impressive 300 hectares of vineyards. 1.7 million bottles are produced each year, with 26% of them being exported. The current winery has been used as a winery since 1798 (which pre-dates Cartuxa, therefore), and was originally a Jesuit rest house.

Cerca Nova 2004 Branco
This is a new brand, a second wine. Blend of Roupeiro, Arinto and Antao Vaz. Fresh, tight, bright fruity nose leads to crisp palate with some mineraliness and good acid. Very good+ 87/100

Pera Manca Branco 2002
This is the white sister wine to the iconic red Pera Manca, and it is a blend of Arinto and Antao Vaz. No oak is used, ad it is kept for a year at 6 °C after fermentation finishes. The nose is slightly shy with some subtle herby notes. The palate is full, rich and slightly herby with nice texture and some straw-like notes. Nicely poised. Very good+ 89/100

EA Tinto 2004
Lovely vivid bright red and black fruits dominate the nose, with some cherryish character and a savoury streak. The palate is vivid and juicy with nice supple fruit. Quite primary: a midweight, fruit-dominated drinker. Very good+ 88/100

Cerca Nova 2004
Smooth dark fruits nose with a chocolatey edge. The palate is quite full with a spicy chocolatey edge to the vivid fruit. Tasty and rich. Very good+ 88/100

Foral de Evora Tinto 2003
Fantastic bright nose of vivid raspberry and blackcurrant fruit. Really delicious and appealing. The palate is juicy and rich with a lovely freshness and some spicy structure. Finishes with drying tannins but it is a delicious drop now. Very good/excellent 90/100

Cartuxa 2001
A quarter of a million bottles made of this wine, which is the top of the portfolio, except in years when either the iconic Pera Manca is made or when an intermediary wine, the Cartuxa Reserva, is released. A slightly faded colour, this has an appealing savoury nose with some spicy warmth. The palate shows a bit of evolution but with lovely earthy spiciness. It’s rounded and warm with good structure and nice length. A satisfying wine in a rather old-fashioned style. Very good/excellent 92/100


Availability in UK: agent is Raymond Reynolds, and the wines are stocked by a range of independents.   

Back to top