Algarve in a bottle
Monte da Casteleja Rosé 2013
On the rear label of this Algarve rosé, the producer rounds off his description of the wine with “summer in a glass”. I wouldn’t disagree, but this would apply to pretty much any decent bottle of wellchilled rosé. What makes this rosé different is not only the grape variety (Bastardo), but also the fact it is produced organically right here in the Algarve near Lagos. The Bastardo grape may be better known as a varietal in the Bairrada region – and as a blending grape in the Douro – but it has long been grown here in the Algarve and is one of the traditional regional varieties that winemaker Guillaume Leroux set out to reinvent when he started his winery in 2000.
Today, Monte da Casteleja is known for producing wines in a style all of its own, influenced by the Bordeaux region – where Guillaume was raised – but true to the essence of the Algarve.
This 2013 rosé is quite different from the previous rosés from this producer, which were made from a blend of the local Alfrocheiro grape with Bastardo. The pale salmon pink colour with brown hues hides an unusual but quite seductive wine, better matched to food pairing than to summer quaffing. On the nose, there are subtle notes of red berries, but it is the surprisingly rich palate with a long finish that make this wine stand out from any Algarve rosé I have tried. Outstanding value at €5 to €6 in supermarkets.