The 2017 Rubrica is a blend of 35% Alicante Bouschet, 18% Touriga Nacional, 15% Aragonez, 12% Syrah, 11% Petit Verdot and Tinta Miúda for the rest, all aged for 12 months in 77% new French oak. It comes in at 14.9% alcohol. This has a certain nod to the Carrapatelo Reserva in some ways, but the blend is obviously different (using all of the winery's grapes with Rubrica), and there is less maceration. In any event, this seems far different in style. It's also better, a more complete wine. It grabs the palate and coats it. It seems deeper and more concentrated. It also seems just a little gamier - perhaps that Syrah showing up. The tannic power is about the same, but this seems to have a better ability to soak up the tannins, so this actually feels more approachable. You could even drink it now, not that I'd recommend that. The impression of more depth changes the perceptible balance. It absorbs the oak better too, even though on paper the wood impact here should be greater. The texture here is more enticing too, more along the lines of velvet. This is lovely - impressive, sexy and intriguing. It seems to have the potential to age well, although we will be conservative and start here. If this develops and improves, it might yet be entitled to an uptick in score. Drink date: 2021-2033. Score - 93. (Mark Squires, robertparker.com, Aug. 31, 2020)
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