Thursday, March 13, 2008

Portugal Wine Tasting: Alentejo Region

This is my final entry on the Portugal wine tasting I did with the Midtown Winers last week. This final region is the Alentejo is in south-central Portugal. Its name's origin, "além do Tejo", literally translates to "beyond the Tagus". The region is separated from the rest of Portugal by the Tagus river, and extends to the south where it borders the Algarve. The land varies considerably, from the open rolling plains of the south of the Alentejo to the granite hills that border Spain in the north-east.

The Alentejo is a large region and its flat plains cover almost a third of the country. Much of this area is used to grow cereal grain. It is hot like the Douro region and irrigation is used. In contrast to the northern regions, most of the production is done by large, professional companies.

The Alentejo region has done very well in the past ten years, producing old and new style wines. The traditional Alentejo style is described as “leathery, herby, with a sweet-spice complexity.” The new style is fruit-forward, almost new-world style. This second style has been a huge commercial success. This was the Alentejo wine I enjoyed the most.

The maker is Esporao, who has been producing wine in Portugal since 1975. This particular wine is a blend of:

This wine was not at all a fruit-bomb, but it was fruit-forward. The main fruit seemed to be cherry which mixed well with the tannins. The alcohol was a little strong (14.5%) but it wasn’t excessive as to take away from the wine. This wine was a nice combination of the old style and new style. For more information about the maker, see Catavino’s blog entry.

The theme for the April Midtown winers group is "Obscure Varietals." We are defining obscure as the less famous red grapes of the Bordeaux: Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. These wines don't have to come from Bordeaux, they just have to be made predominately from the individual grape. Please leave a comment if you have a suggestion of a good example of any of these grapes.


ryan said...

Great wine, just had dinner with the wine maker David Baverstock, make sure to check out their Verdelho white if you ever have the chance, INCREDIBLE stuff!

Taster A said...

This looks like a wine I would like to try! Thanks for the data.

Louis Horta said...

"Regional Lisboa" ex-Estremadura is the future of interesting wines from Portugal.

Our story strongly suggest that:

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