The wines of Aldeia de Cima, an exciting project in Portugal’s Alentejo
Herdade Aldeia de Cima is a large 2400 hectare estate in Vidiguera in the south Alentejo. Here, Luisa Amorim and her husband Francisco Rêgo have begun a really exciting wine project.
Luisa is from the Amorim family of cork fame, and is already managing two Amorim-owned wine projects: Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, and Taboadella in the Dão. But this is her own personal venture, and it’s based on 4 vineyard blocks and 34 distinct micro-terroirs, planted to 12 indigenous Portuguese grape varieties.
The vineyards have altitude which helps them cope with the warm conditions here, and at the highest point, 424 m, in 2017 Luisa planted a terraced vineyard that looks more like the Douro than this more southerly region.
The Alentejo is of course where many cork forests are found, and this large property was owned by her father, Américo Amorim. The wine project began in 2017, and is relatively small: 100 000 bottles – focusing on quality and typicity.
These are my notes on the wines, which are really impressive.
Herdade Aldeia de Cima Myndru 2019 Mendro, Alentejo, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. 70% Alfrocheiro, 15% Tinta Grossa, 15% Baga, aged 12 months in concrete and terracotta. This is enticing, with sweet black cherry and plum notes on the nose as well as some stony, minerally savoury characters. The palate is ripe but well balanced, with sweet black fruits but also some stony mineral characters. Restrained and supple, with lovely tension and nice texture, this is a really appealing expression of a warm-climate wine region, showing depth and texture without any oak influence. 93/100
Herdade Aldeia de Cima Garrafeira 2019 Mendro, Alentejo, Portugal
14.5% alcohol. A blend of 50% Alicante Bouschet and 50% Aragonêz, this is a dense but well balanced wine with concentrated blackberry and black cherry fruit with a savoury, spicy, grainy twist and some well integrated cedar oak notes. There’s power here, with fruit intensity, oak and structure that make this an ageworthy wine, showing a sense of restraint: this is an ageworthy, balanced, traditional-styled red, as is indicated by the Garrafeira designation. A wine to be cellared with confidence, but you can just about enjoy it now, too. 94/100
Aldeia de Cima Garrafeira Branco 2020 Mendro, Alentejo, Portugal
14% alcohol. Lovely orange peel and lemon nose with a delicate mandarin richness and subtle aniseed. In the mouth this has lovely fruit expression, with a waxy edge to the lemon and pear fruit, showing a crystalline citrus core and some spicy warmth. This is a beautifully expressive wine with real precision and concentration. Very fine. 95/100
Aldeia de Cima Alyantiju 2017 Mendro, Alentejo, Portugal
14.5% alcohol. This is lush, sweetly fruited and textured with some spicy framing to the lush black cherry and blackberry notes. Great concentration, and despite the evident ripeness, there’s some freshness and grip. Lovely harmony here. A generous, broad, seductive Alentejo red with nice complexity. So refined with a nice grainy structural character and masses of lush fruit. Finishes tannic. 93/100
Aldeia de Cima Reserva 2017 Mendro, Alentejo, Portugal
14.5% alcohol. Lovely aromatics here: floral and expressive with cherries, violets, spice and dried herbs. The palate is supple and sweet, with textured black cherry and blackberry fruit, as well as some grainy, slightly grippy structure and hints of cedar and spice in the background. Lovely purity to this wine: it’s ripe and quite rich, but also keeps its balance. This is a warm region, and you taste this in the ripeness of the wine. But it works well. 93/100
Aldeia de Cima Reserva Branco 2018 Mendro, Alentejo, Portugal
13% alcohol. There’s nice concentration here with sweet-edged citrus and pear fruit, a touch of melon and some pithy notes. Bold and refined with nice depth. Refined and textural with good density, this is an impressive southern white with a crystalline freshness to the fruit. 92/100
Aldeia de Cima Alyantiju Branco 2018 Mendro, Alentejo, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. This is really complex and interesting, with melon, pear and spice notes. It’s bold and rich with some pith and spice structure under the fruit. Orange peel and bergamot notes. A dense, well balanced white wine, fruit driven with nice intensity. Shows lovely balance with pure fruit the main theme. 92/100
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com