I first met Rui Reguinga when I visited the Dão back in 2004, when he was making the wines for Quinta Dos Roues. He’s well known as a consultant winemaker, producing impressive wines for other people, but he also has his own project based in Portalegre in the Alentejo.
When Rui began making wines from Portalegre in 2004, this was a somewhat neglected part of the Alentejo. Since then, it has drawn in a lot of talented winemakers and is a bit of a hotspot. Here there are three key features that help make interesting wines. First, altitude: the vineyards are at 600-800 m on slopes leading up to Serra de São Mamede. Second, the soils are granitic, which is not typical for the Alentejo – it’s more common to find these soils in Dão and Beira Interior. And thirdly, the vineyards are old: Rui’s wines are field blends of 80-100 year old mixed varieties.
In addition to his Alentejo wines, Rui has recently started working in the Tejo. He’s replanted a five hectare plot that belonged to his family with Rhône varieties. He has also begun making wine in the Douro.
Terrenus Reserva Branco Vinhas Velhas 2016 Portalegre, Alentejo
This spends a year in a concrete tank on lees and then 2 years in bottle before release. Intense with a nice stony texture and a mineral core. Nice depth and focus, showing some intensity and also quite pretty. All about the mouthfeel. 93/100
Vin da Talisca 2018 Tejo, Portugal
A new project from the Tejo region. A blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. This property was inherited by Rui from his grandfather and he replanted it with Rhône varieties. A lovely textural white with a floral edge to the sweet yellow plum and peach fruit. Fresh and fine, and nicely expressive with a touch of delicacy. Nice fruit. 92/100
Tributo 2017 Tejo, Portugal
This is 85% Syrah, with Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier making up the rest of the blend. All the grapes are fermented together in a lagar, and it’s 20% whole cluster. Really pure and fresh with nice grainy structure and a floral edge to the fruit. Has a bright red fruit character with lovely depth. 93/100
Terrenus Vinha da Ammia Amphora 2018 Alentejo, Portugal
This is a blend of Trincadeira, Moreto and Castelao, 80% whole cluster and 20% destemmed for juice to get fermentation going quickly. It’s fermented for two months on skins in a 100-year old amphora, and then the wine is moved to 500 litre terracotta amphorae from Tuscany. Floral, aromatic nose. Sweet, supple, stony palate with real finesse and nice grip. There’s some open, fleshy cherry fruit but also nice juiciness. Shows a lot of character and finesse. 94/100
Terrenus Tinto 2016 Portalegre, Alentejo, Portugal
This is a field blend of 10 grapes and it is matured for 14 months in old oak. Nice savouriness here. It’s a bit grippy and grainy with sleek black cherry fruit with lovely purity. Some stoniness, and nice savoury grip. 93/100
Terrassus 2016 Douro, Portugal
A blend of 45% Touriga Nacional, 45% Touriga Franca and 10% Tinta Roriz from Quinta dos Lagares. 20% whole cluster. Grippy, structured and dense with nice sweet fruit, some blackberries and spice, and a hint of tar. Substantial and balanced. 92/100
Wines tasted at Simplesmente Vinho, which this year is held 2-4 July (2021) in Porto
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