2019 Heredade Rocim Mariana Vinho Regional Alentejano

The back label tells the story of a lovelorn nun called Mariana, not sure about the relevance to a secular drinker, perhaps marketing to the devout. Personally more impressed by those interesting Portuguese varieties, in this case 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Aragonez or Tempranillo, 20% Alicante Bouschet and 10% Trincadeira or Tinta Amarela. Not sure just how indigenous are the middle two but they do like a bit of warmth which the Alentejo can provide. This was one of those bottles which failed to inspire initially and had me grumbling about over ripe, contrived wine making, only to prove me entirely wrong after twenty four hours. Started off with leathery, dried grape skin, lacking a bit of freshness and bounce. Lots of chewy dry skin tannin and a wide clunk of acid. Considerable surprise the next day to find loads of bright spiced plums, dark blackberry, sweet dark quality chocolate mixed with dried fruit and nuts. A twist of baked earth and a bloody, iron tang. Touriga comes good again. Tannin and ripe acidity in place. Another lesson in not jumping too quickly to judge. Wine’s so much fun. Books and covers.

14% alcohol. Diam. $29.

89 completely misjudged points to start, 92/93 thereafter.

2018 Celler del Roure Vermell

From the Spanish DO of Valencia in the way of 70% Garnacha Tintorera aka Alicante Bouschet and 30% Mandó, a rarity and yet another one of those Mediterranean grapes to add to the long list of discoveries. Jancis’ bible, Wine Grapes, suggests Mandón, originally from Bierzo in the opposite north west corner of Spain. Twinkling ruby red and only just medium of body, there’s a fresh, clean perfume of an uncrushed berry ferment casting its shadow over tangy red currants, cherries, pomegranate and earthy spice. Flows through the mouth like a good cru Beaujolais with naturally mouthwatering acidity and its own distinct chalky herbal end. A cool glass with some snacks on a warm Iberian night seems a nice dream. Don’t think it’s worth adding Mandó to the category section. Probably doesn’t pop up in a google search that often.

12% alcohol. Cork. Gratefully discounted to $96 for a six pack from The Spanish Acquisition. Worth a share with friends if you live in Melbourne.

92 points. Plus a bit for a sunny personality.