Monte Dos Cabacos Reserva
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Rui Abecassis, founder of Obrigado: “Monte dos Cabaços is clearly one of the very top producers in the Alentejo. People make all the difference and often in this business their personality and life clearly define the project and ultimately the wines they produce.”
Joaquim and Margarida Cabaço are from Estremoz, from a little village beautifully called GLORIA- but one gets a sense of a more cosmopolitan background. In fact, it’s no surprise to learn they have both lived in Paris, Buenos Aires and Milan. They opted to come back to countryside life in the early 1980s. In 1982, they moved to an old house that had no fridge or electricity. Still, they invited people over all the time, and Margarida learned how to cook on a wood burning stove. With her husband Joaquim they reconstructed the house into a charming puzzle of new rooms and huge fireplaces, had 4 children, started Monte dos Cabaços winery in 1983 and finally, opened the restaurant S. Rosas in 1994, one of the most acclaimed in Portugal.
While there is plenty to be said about Chef Margarida Cabaço’s pleasant food and her architectural aesthetics, but we are here for the family winery and wines, so here goes:
MONTE DOS CABAÇO (translates to Cabaços House) was founded in 1982 in Estremoz, a city famed for its marble. Joaquim is an experienced viticulturist, and between 1992 and 1998 he bought an additional 30 hectares of carefully selected land and decided which varietals to plant. Today, Monte dos Cabaços has a total of 80 hectares at an average altitude is 400 meters. Joaquim continues to sell the majority of the fruit to neighbors and uses its best for the Monte dos Cabaços wines. The winery has a small team: Joaquim as viticulturist, famed winemaker Susana Esteban as winemaker, and mother Margarida and daughter Marta Cabaço responsible for the daily logistics of the business. Harvesting has been done by the same team for the past 20 years. Monte dos Cabaços stays true to the Alentejo quality of tranquility and patience. In order to showcase the very best that their wines are capable of expressing, they delay release of their wines until ready. In that vein, their current releases are 2 year old whites, and 6 and 7 year old reds.
2007 94WE & Editors' Choice
55% Alicante Bouschet, 40% Touriga Nacional, 5% Shiraz. Vines planted from 1982-1992. Tended in clay and loam at 400 m (1,312 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
This is a wine that craves robust flavors – grilled and roasted meats, particularly beef, lamb and game, are a perfect pair here.
Vinification and ageing
Harvested by hand in small boxes, grapes are selected at the winery. Fermented in a conical small capacity tank, with temperature control followed by manual pumping, and post fermenting maceration. It is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels and given several years of bottle age prior to release.
270 cases (6 pack)
Alicante Bouchet (45%) dominates the blend. Originally French and in Alentejo since the mid 1800’s Alicante Bouchet does very well in southern Portugal, where it is well established and cherished. Generous, firm, and a purple-fleshed grape - also goes by the more explicit name of “writing ink”- bringing tannins and structure. Touriga Nacional, (30%) the hallmark Portuguese variety, was planted in the Monte dos Cabaços in 1992 and adds more color and flavors of dark fruits. Aragones, or Tempranillo, (20%) brings acidity and longevity and finally, Cabernet (5%) finishes the blend. Monte dos Cabacos Tinto exhibits dark fruit, fresh herbs and peppery spice on the nose, following through to flavors of the same, shot through with lovely balanced acidity and minerality. Full and rich on the palate, with impressive structure and a long finish.