Two High Street Brands
Andrew Stevenson tastes the current offerings from the 1970s must have, Mateus Rosé, together with a new range of wines from Jacob's Creek.
24th May 2007
Mateus always brings two things to my mind: the Mike Leigh play, Abigail's Party and a visit to a Sogrape winery cum factory, where Mateus was produced, in the Minho region of Portugal in the mid 1980s. Most other wineries that I visited in Portugal back then were fairly rustic affairs and it was only in the laboratory at Taylor's lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia that anything particularly modern was sighted. The Sogrape-Mateus factory (which has nothing to do with the palace shown on the famous label), however, was something else, resembling the starship Enterprise more than a winery, with lots of control panels with flashing lights, and an ultra modern feel. The wines, including the one Mateus rosé that was made back then, were not terribly impressive. Since then, the Portuguese original Mateus rosé has been joined by two others, one from Spain and one from the south of France. Have they improved since the 1980s? Well, yes, I think they have. The French syrah rosé seems the strongest to me, but it only narrowly pips the original Portuguese. It would be interesting to revisit the Mateus winery: would it still feel as gleaming, modern and sci-fi as it did in the early 80s?
2006 Mateus Shiraz Rosé, Sogrape, 12.5%
100% shiraz from the south of France – the wine is made in the south of France and bottled in Portugal. The nose has forward fruity, very fruity syrah fruit. Clean, dry, fresh palate. Inoffensive, but easily drinkable and far, far better than I had snobbishly feared. Good. 82/100
NV Mateus Rosé, Sogrape, 11%
This is the original Mateus, first made by Fernando Van Zeller Guedes in 1942, exported to over 125 countries and having sold more than a billion bottles in its 60 years. The current blend of the traditional Mateus is mainly baga, along with some touriga franca, rufete and tinta barocca.
There is sweetish strawberry fruit on the nose. There’s a slight prickle on the palate, which has some quite bubblegummy flavours. Not at all unpleasant. Good. 82/100
2006 Mateus Tempranillo, Valencia DO, Sogrape, 10.5%
Produced in Valencia in Spain, and made to be in a Californian style. There’s lightish cherry fruit on the nose. Sweetish palate, with lots of rose petal flavours and some tannins after. OK. 78/100
Jacob’s Creek, Three Vines
Three Vines is the new range from Jacob’s Creek launched in the UK in July 2007, and as the name suggests, the three wines are each a blend of three varietals, combining a classic Australian variety with a classic Mediterranean variety. The wines are expected to have a "standard" price of £6.99, which will often be discounted to £4.99. Apparently, this is the first time that Jacob's Creek-Pernod Ricard have launched a range of wines exclusively in the UK, without first trying them out in Australia.
2006 Three Vines Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier,
South East Australia, Jacob’s Creek, 13%
The three varieties were fermented separately in stainless steel at cool temperatures, though some of the viognier also went into barrrel. A gentle nose, showing the three varietals clearly, but not un-integrated. Decent palate, with fair balance and an attractive acidity. Of the three, this is the one that seems to me most to need food. 81/100
2006 Three Vines Shiraz-Cabernet-Tempranillo, Jacob’s
Around half of the final blend was aged in old barrels. This has a rich full nose with blackberries and plenty of licorice. On the palate, there’s sweet fruit initially, but that’s followed up by a slightly odd astringent note. They hope this will have settled down by the time it comes to market. 80/100
2006 Three Vines Shiraz-Grenache-Sangiovese Rosé,
Jacob’s Creek, 13%
This has lovely soft berry fruits on the nose with a hit of spice. Decent palate all the way through with good strawberry fruit and peppery notes. Pepper spice and acidity characterise the finish. This is by far the strongest of the three. 83/100
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Last updated: 16 July 2007