Domino 2012, Vitor Claro, Portalegre

An exciting style of Alentejo red – from field blends of old vines at 700m altitude, in the hills above Portalegre, the grapes are picked early for freshness (the wine is just 12.5% alcohol) and the whole bunches are allowed to ferment for two months, offering a long, smooth maceration. The wine is not aged in oak, for a lighter texture. Domino is made by Vitor Claro, an in-demand chef from Lisbon who has become so committed to making his own wine – as well as the potential of the Alto Alentejo to give the style and quality he wants to achieve – that he spends his days off on the opposite side of the country tending these very special vines.
The texture is smooth and delicate, but the flavours deep: spice, liquorice and mulberry, with high notes of smoky menthol and a moreish tangy acidity. The balance is exceptional, and makes for a very versatile food wine. We drank this with Vitor at Tomba Lobos and the wine stood up to the toucinho (baked lard!), focinho (pig’s snout) and lamb sweetbreads. whilst the acidity constantly refreshed the palate.
(The photo shows us drinking a bottle Vitor kindly gave us to take away, which we enjoyed at Pego Ferreiro, the beautiful ‘glamping’ spot near Santo Antonio Das Areias – thus the slightly unusual glasses!)

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