(2022) The Setúbal peninsula, just south of Lisbon, specialises in these fortified wines made from Moscatel. It's made in a relatively fresh, modern and vivacious style, though it does spend 24 months in oak barrels. Notes of mandarin orange and honey, caramel and caraway seeds dominate, with plenty of Muscat florals in the mix too. On the palate the caramel sweetness moves into a smoky and aromatic tobacco and Earl Grey tea, but all the time that citrus freshness lightens the load. Distinctive, and would be wonderful with orangy desserts,but there's also a suggestion to make it into a long drink with plenty of ice and tonic, and perhaps add a slice of orange.
(2022) From Setúbal and made from its native grape Castelão along with Aragonez (Tempranillo) and Touriga Nacional. A pale salmon/peach colour, the nose is fairly neautral, a touch of stone fruit and maybe a hint of candy floss. The palate has a burst of zingy fruit, again reminds me a little of Sauvignon Blanc in that respect, with some residual sugar balancing a pithy grapefruit acidity.
(2012) Walnuts, honey and fig in a sweet and dark-hued melange of aromas. The nutty, Seville orange richness of the palate is ravishing. Ravishing on the palate too - rich, liquoricy, bright and focused orange with length and finesse.
(2012) Drier, more varnishy aromas, plenty of nutty and oxidised pleasure to be had here. What a lovely bright tang of apricots - so vital and alive, the sweetness playing against the nutty richness delightfully. Fabulous, a beautiful wine of infinite complexity and interest.
(2012) Walnutty and deep, there are notes of cappuccino and orange here, a dark, stewed fruit compote character too. Wow, what texture on the palate - mind-blowing richness and viscose weight, spices, essential oils, orange and clove, all brightened bt citrus freshness at the core. A fabulous wine.
(2011) Subdued, older character with little of the Muscat's floral exuberance. Aromas are more of stewed tea and nuts, a little caramel. The palate has full sweetness, the marmalade orange tang and cappuccino richness of the wine giving huge depth and intriguing layers of contemplative complexity. A profound and deliciously alive wine.
(2011) Aragonez, Trincadeira and Grand Noir. Aged in 100% new oak for one year, then racked into another set of 100% new oak barrels. Massive balsamic nose with, with lots of high, almost gamy aromas, intense floral glimpses, schisty notes and charcoal. Very powerful palate too, with sweet balsamic grip, but liquoricy depth, length and focus. Layered complexity, and something intriguing about it.
(2010) Aragonez, Touriga Nacional and Cabernet, aged 20 months in French oak, around 70% new. Lovely lifted nose, with a floral, geranium lift that is very fragrant. Absolutely lovely fruit and black chocolate palate, with a silkiness to this and a smooth, very supple fruit and tannin balance.
(2010) 17%. Dark, tawny colour. Nutty and deep, with more coffee and raisin qualities, obviously much longer time in barrel for this. Some of that leafy, floral charcter too. The palate has those developed honey and tea-like flavours, delicious toffee sweetness, and a fine acidity to balance and extend the finish.