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Off to Portugal’s Alentejo Region I Go

Tonight I am off for the Alentejo region in Portugal. I’m planning to spend the next three days tasting wine and learning about the great tourism opportunities developing in this exciting region. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Alentejo region, it is located in the lower half of Portugal between Lisbon and the Algarve in the south. They use six primary grape varieties that include; Aragonez, Antão Vaz, Castelão, Rabo de Ovelha, Síria and Trincadeira. It has been producing some good red and white wines.

Just to give you some context while I am gone, here are some of the wine regions that are typically named after their respective towns in the Alentejo:

Borba

The region covers the majority of Estremoz, Orada, Vila Viçosa, Alandroal and Rio de Moinhos. The red wines are blended from the: Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Argonez, Carignan, Castelão and Trincadeira varieties. The white wines are blended from Antão Vaz, Rabo de ovelha, Síria and Tamarez.

Évora
This sub-region covers the south and west of Évora city. The red wines are produced from Aragonez, Castlão, Tinta Caiada and Trincadeirañ; while the white wines are from Antão Vaz, Arinto, Síria and Tamarez grapes.

Moura
Moura is a DOC in southern Portugal whose production is primarly through co-operatives. The red wines are mainly: Alfrocheiro, Aragonez, Castelão and Trincadeira. The white wines are produced from Antão Vaz, Arinto, Bical, Fernão Pires, Rabo de Ovelha, Síria and Tamarez.

Portalegre
Due to the elevation of the “Serra de São Mamede” hills, the wines have a slightly different quality than the others sub-regions. The red wines are typically blended from Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Castelão, Moreto and Trincadeira; while, the whites are blended from Arinto Galego, Assario, Fernão Pires, Manteúdo and Síria.

Redondo
Located between Évora and Estremos, red wines are from Aragonez, Castelão, Tinta Caiada and Trincadeira. The white wines are blended from Antão Vaz, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Rabo de Ovelha and Síria.

Reguengos
Located in the south and east of Évora city, the red varietes are mainly Argonez, Catelão, Moreto and Trincadeira. The white wines are blended from Antão Vaz, Arinto, Rabo de Ovelha and Síria.

Videgueira
One of the oldest sub-regions in the Alentejo and is located just north and west of Beja. The red varieties used are Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Castelão and Trincadeira. The whites are from the varieties Antão Vaz, Arinto, Perrum, Rabo de Ovelha and Síria.

My last visit to this regions was in 2002, when I tasted what I thought to be the future of Portuguese table wines. New flavors, new grapes and an incredibly high quality blended together to create a big splash in the wine world. Four years later, I am returning to see how things have developed and what you can expect from this region in the future.

I don’t know how much internet access I’ll have while I’m there, but I’ll try to get something from my trip posted for you in the next week.

Till soon, Ryan Opaz

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