Variety: Antao Vaz
Region: Alentejo, Portugal
Cost: $30 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Citrine in colour with a strong aroma of minerality and hints of flint. Full mouth, with excellent acidity providing an intense freshness: a relevant unctuousness with a long, structured ending.
My Review: So full disclosure – the only Portuguese white wine I’ve really had has been vinho verde (which I love in the summer….so good), so the 2014 Herdade Olho de Mocho Reserva, made from Antao Vaz, was something of a new experience for me. It was…different.
In the glass, the wine was a golden yellow/green colour, and on the nose I picked up aromas of apple and lemon-lime. In the mouth, the wine coated the mouth, with crisp apple and citrus notes leading the way into a mineral, almost chalky finish. My wife and I paired the wine with some finger foods – brie en croute and mini turkey pot pies we picked up at Trader Joe’s.
This wine confused me. Based on the colour I assumed the wine had been aged, but it only spent 4 months in the bottle ageing. The mouthfeel and flavours almost seemed at odds for me – the crisp citrus conflicting with how the wine coated the mouth as I would expect a fuller bodied wine to do.
I didn’t hate the wine, but neither did I love it (my wife described it as watered down oaked Chardonnay; harsher than I would have gone, but I also understand where she was coming from), and for $30 I want to like it more than I did to buy another bottle.
It felt as though the wine was trying to dance between being crisp and full-bodied, and managed to achieve neither. Whether this was a result of the grape or the winemaking I can’t say for certain as I’m not that familiar with the grape, but either way, it left me in the position of shrugging my shoulders over this wine, which is not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Whether you want crisp and refreshing or full-bodied, the 2014 Herdade Olho de Mocho Reserva doesn’t really achieve either. There’s probably a pairing that would really make this wine shine (maybe some briny oysters), but my experience with it left me unimpressed.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.