Elin McCoy in a recent Bloomberg piece has announced: “The wine country of 2021 will be … Portugal.” One of my favorite places in Europe, wonderful and friendly people, and great food to go along with the wine. May I add that the golf is outstanding too! Southern coastline boasts some outstanding weather pretty much all year long and one of my favorite courses in the world – Praia D’el Rey is about an hour north of Lisbon. Time to pack those bags I suspect.
If you are a red wine lover you have no doubt been into some of the big bold reds from the Douro Valley. For 2021 it is suggested that the hot spot for wines will be the Alentejo region, with its fresh, aromatic, savory whites and juicy, plush, smoky red blends, all from unusual varieties (Antão Vaz, Aragonez), and some fermented in clay amphora. The region boasts rock-star winemakers, a fantastic sustainability program and one third of the world’s cork forests.
Portugal’s wines have arrived! But no wine region in Europe has blended climate, tradition and technology in the way the wineries of the Alentejo have. So, if you’re looking to explore a wine region, this is one that will please your eyes (and palate).
The Alentejo has become Portugal’s new premier wine region. In recent decades, the region’s winemakers have ushered in many of the modern advancements, earning critical acclaim for some full-bodied, fruity reds and light, oaky whites.
On the border of Spain, this dry region is a rural escape. The rolling plains are covered with large wine fields, dotted with whitewashed homes and cork trees. The Alentejo climate of hot summers and cool winters helps create flavorful grapes that transfer into ripe and complex wines.
Both the wines and cuisine of the Alentejo have been influenced by Greek, Roman and Arab visitors. These cultures brought their traditional cuisines to the Alentejo and today many local dishes are based on Mediterranean ingredients. To complement these flavors, traditional Portuguese grape varieties flourish. Modern winemakers have introduced international varieties such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, into their local blends.
The Alentejo was not historically known for white wines, but new tech and grapes have helped bring some great whites to the market.
New demand for Alentejo wines has helped support larger vineyards. There are many affordable bottles from the Alentejo available that deliver big flavor.
Look for reds from the sub-regions of Portalegre, Borba, Redondo, Reguengos, Granja/Amareleja, Moura and Évora. Top-quality whites are being produced in the Vidigueira sub-region of the Alentejo.
For more information: Visitalentejo Caiado de Fresco – Turismo do Alentejo
Some Wine’s from Portugal…
Terra d’Alter ARG Aragonez 2018: $15.95
What you can expect: Similar in style to the Tempranillo grape. A refreshing red, bold flavors, deep rich red look and taste as well. Great value!
Esporão Reserva 2017: $26.95
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
What you can expect: This has been a long time favorite of mine. Another dark rich red that fills your mouth with a boatload of flavors. Dark cherry, cocoa and vanilla. Roast beef or lamb would be ideal partners for this old smoothy.
Portas da Herdade Grande Reserva 2016: $30.95
What you can expect: Here’s a meaty mouthful for you! On the high side for alcohol content, kind of reminds me of the Italian Amarone which I love. A blend of 40% Aragonez and 30% each of Syrah and Alicante Bouschet aged for 18 months in used French oak. Great aroma and will linger nicely to the finish.