Bloomberg declared: “The wine country of 2021 will be … Portugal.” And, where in Portugal do they recommend? The Alentejo - the article says: “but for 2021 I’m also betting on newcomer region Alentejo, 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 made it on the big stage! But no wine region in Europe has mixed climate, tradition and technology in the way the wineries of the Alentejo have. So, if you’re looking to explore a wonderful wine region, this is one that will please your eyes (and palate).
The Alentejo is now a new premier wine region. In recent years, the region’s winemakers have ushered in many of the modern advancements, earning acclaim for some full-bodied, fruity reds and light, oaky whites.
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 transform 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 are the rule. Modern winemakers have introduced international varieties too, such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, into their local blends.
The Alentejo was not always known for white wines, but new tech and grapes have helped bring some great whites to the market.
High demand for Alentejo wines has helped support larger vineyards. There are many affordable bottles from the Alentejo available that deliver. 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.