This ’09 hails from Portugal and is a blend of 40% Aragonez, 30% Alicante Bouschet, 20% Trincadeira, and 10% Cabernet Sauvingon. I’m proud to say I know what one of those grapes is. This wine is one of the most interesting we have come across, so it’s really easy to give this clichéd bit of hackneyed praise: it’s 100% amazing. The Mariana is from southern Portugal, deep in the Alentejo region from a winery that got their start in 2000.
It be nice to explore what these grapes are, and what they led to making the quality that we hopefully picked up on below:
Aragonez: i.e. tempranillo, tinto del pais. Yes, it is the gusty grape with a backbone that we all know and love in our Rioja, also the grape so well known from the Rubeira del Duero.
Alicante Bouschet: Alicante hails from France where it was used primarily as a blending grape that gave a startling and bold color to the wines. On the plus side, it’s an easy grape, proliferating easily in many vineyards around the world.
Trincadeira: or, trinta amarela, is primarily a wine meant for port. So, we can dedce that it has a sweet and medicinal quality.
2009 Herdade Do Rocim Alentejo Mariana – $ 14
Dark berries and earth on the nose. Very pretty; floral notes abounded. In the mouth the wine came off as simple and straight forward. I wrote down: “This is the first simple wine I’ve ever loved.” The wine never stopped evoloving––so in effect, it was all rather complex. It just never leaped at us. First there was a blueberry note…a heavy one at that. Then it was as if the blueberry had had coitus with a coffee bean, and you were then tasting the (ugh, I know) the remnant fluids of said exchange. Fascinating. Before the bottle was all finished up, a burst of orange was festooned on our tongues. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong, uncanny, sense of tropical linger so well integrated with everything else you would come to expect with a solid red wine. Superb.
This is an easily affordable wine that will bowl you over with its evolution. Let it decant for an hour or so, give it time, to rest, to brood, deepen.