Cellar door closed 18-27 July 2024.


Rabo da Rainha Lado B Score 17, Julia Harding

Rabo da Rainha 2020 (Lado B), Julia Harding

Full bottle just 1,150 g. 40-year-old vines in Alenquer. Blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and press wine of Castelão and Alicante Bouschet. Right bank of Tejo river, 30 km north-east of Lisbon. No irrigation. Cool but not cold nights, very hot afternoons. Hand-picked and spontaneously whole-berry fermented in 5,000-litre steel tanks. Punchdown, later pump-over. Temperature control 22 ºC, later 26 ºC. Pressed after short post-fermentative maceration. Separation of last press wines from all fermenters. Initially aged separately in refurbished, neutral French oak barriques for 10 months. Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional blended with part of the press wine and returned for another 8 months into refurbished, neutral French oak barriques. Total 18 month aged in oak.

Bottle-aged for another 15 months to soften the tannins. Lado B means ‘the b-side’ as this is a variation of their 2020 Rabo da Rainha 2020. Rabo da Rainha means ‘the Queen’s bum’, apparently. Bottling January 2022. TA 6.4 g/l, pH 3.76. Like all their wines, vegan-friendly. Very dark crimson with very little evolution in the colour. Rich, ripe, inviting black fruits. Smooth, heart-warming and caressing without tasting overly alcoholic despite its 15%. Rounded if still gently chewy tannins. A winter warmer and definitely a food wine. As it opens in the glass, a hint of violets, a touch of spice and black olive but no obvious oak. Deliciously full-bodied and persistent, with enough freshness for harmony, though it is the richness rather than the freshness that makes its mark. Good value and should continue to age well.

Score: 17