In Portugal's Alentejo region, Alicante Bousch...

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Here come the holidays, and it’s when we think about wine a lot, for so many festivities, all jammed in at the end of the year.. This isn’t my first story about Portuguese wines lately. I’m still exploring wines from the Alentejo region, because of their flavors and their affordability! Portuguese indigenous grape varieties are really fun to explore. (If you already know about Portuguese wines, you know what I mean.) I really miss Portugal, but I get to return with each new sip.

Another fairly recent story I wrote about Portuguese wines is Discovering Portuguese History and Portugal’s Esporão Group Wines ~ Part 1

PROLOGUE

A great life gift to my wine education was having a Portuguese client, called Enoforum Wines, at the time. I was given the opportunity of 10 days in Portugal, to dig deeply into this historic, old-world culture place in Europe. I began by my own DNA journey long ago and have traced my own history lesson back as far to 400,000 years ago. It was also a great way to begin a European journey of never-ending learnings, which have changed my world view forever more, with tremendously positive memories. My great guide and new friend was Delfim Costa, who exuberantly took me through Portugal, when I landed in Lisbon. First we went to the Tagus River’s edge for lunch at a tiny, white tablecloth restaurant called Vela Latina. This is when Delfim learned of my fish allergy, so he switched gears to another Portuguese standard, their wild, black pigs. Pork then carried me through my delicious, Portuguese adventures.

After lunch, Delfim guided me around Lisbon’s waterfront, including Jerónimos Monastery.

In the evening, we went to the coast for dinner, to Porto de Santa Maria. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, north of Lisbon, the freshness of the fish cannot be underscored enough… from the sea to your plate, with only the cooking in between. Meanwhile, the black pig options are also very delicious, and I chose simplicity.

This exposure was presented through Delfim Costa’s wine brands, so I’d easily grasped what I had to do, for the next couple of years for Enoforum, as their publicist. In that process, the client helped me to understand why Portuguese people have such a deep connection to the ocean’s bounty and growing wine grapes. Lisbon is only two miles off the Atlantic coastline, with the Tagus River coming right into Lisbon, along that two-mile stretch. The river is their primary, food sources, as they naturally fish those waters for food. With this culture, white wines are of great emphasis and (of course) their value. Their red wines have special indigenous varieties and those grapes create wines for more meat, too.

Just observations of their culture.

  • People are kind, easy-going, and friendly.
  • They are very welcoming, wherever you go, and very helpful.
  • While they are part of the Iberian Peninsula, do not mistake them for being Spanish. They have great pride in being their true, authentic selves.

From this first day in Portugal, the next few were dedicated to the European Wine Bloggers Conference. Then, it was back to the business of learning about several Portuguese wine brands in the Alentejo region, their community customs, terroir, varieties, blends, foods to pair with their wines, and very helpful people… Off we went, inland to the Alentejo…

[ABOVE PHOTO CREDITS: Jo Diaz, all rights reserved.]

ALENTEJO’S Wines

[PHOTO CREDITS: Jo Diaz, all rights reserved. Alentejo’s town of Borba, where marble is found – Marble Borba Grape sculpture, stands about three feet tall, it’s gorgeous. This picture of marble, piled ever so high, was a bit shocking. I had never seen – and still haven’t – seen so much quarried marble, in my life.]

The Alentejo region of Portugal is very forward thinking as regards climate change, because they grow their wine grapes in a warmer part of the globe. At least one-fifth of the wines produced there are aromatic whites. In the paperwork I received from Jane Kettlewell and Kate Corcoran of Creative Palate, “Portugal has the highest density of native grapes per square mile, of any country in the world. Enoforum Wines, which I had represented, has since morphed into Carmim Reguemgos, During that time I did constant research on their wine grape varieties. There are 188 white wines listed, for instance, on my blog post: This is possibly one the most extensive list of white and red wines grapes (621)  in Portugal on the Internet.

This is a typical vineyard in the Alentejo. What struck me as totally amusing, with this shot, was one of the adult sheep being curious about the ripening olives. I remembered the day working at Robert Mondavi winery, standing under an olive tree with my guests, explaining the symbiosis in Mediterranean vineyards… Wine grapes and olive trees in close proximity. As I was about to say, “You don’t want to eat one from a tree, though, they have to go through a brining process to be palatable,” when one man grabbed an olive and popped it into his mouth very quickly. It was spit out just as quickly, and I got to say, “See!” We all had a good laugh. So center is a sheep, learning the same lesson.

Vines, olive trees, and sheep… Sustainability that most of the US has had to learn. Grasses being eaten by animals, who drop nitrogen along the way, adding to earth’s nutrients. Also, there are no fences in this vineyard. They’re home and they know it. In the states, they get rented out by a shepherd who carries them in and out. How far we’ve gotten from understanding basic biology.

 

 

[PHOTO IMAGE: Purchased. All rights reserved.]

Popular Alentejo White Varieties ~ Each Delivers Unique Flavors

Let’s begin with this step, because these are not your mom’s Chard, nor your Dad’s Cab. The white wine varieties mentioned are delivering a whole new world of unusual flavors, unique to their Alentejo terroir.

Antão Vaz: Versatile and perfumed, this wine tastes beautiful whether solo or blended, Antão Vaz is Alentejo’s white star. This hot-climate variety is highly resistant to drought and disease, producing consistently reliable yields, which ripen evenly.

Arinto: One of their most noble grapes, Alentejo’s best white blending variety, thanks to its exuberant acidity. Discreet aroma. Green apple, lemon and lime freshness and mineral notes favored by many wine lovers. Arinto has large leaves for shading and super-high acidity, making it well suited to the hot Alentejo climate.

Alvarinho: A very refreshing, white wine, coming from a green-skinned, grape variety, which is better known as being native to the coastal Spanish regions of Galicia and the Iberian Peninsula.

Verdelho: An undervalued grape that over-delivers, Verdelho styles range from fresh and fruity when young, to rich and unctuous (an “oily” palate-coating trait like Riesling or Chenin) when older. Verdelho is early ripening and drought-tolerant variety, making it ideal for growing in the hot climates such as Alentejo. It ripens early avoiding spring frosts and mildew diseases. Verdelho originates from the Azores and is not linked to Spanish Verdejo.

Viognier: A French variety bringing other outstanding flavors to the Alentejo wines, ranging from vanilla to a creamier texture.

Alentejo White Wines Tasted

[PHOTO CREDIT: Jo Diaz]

Wines ~ Left to right: Marques de Borba Colheita White 2021 ~ Conventural DOC Resera ~ Esporão Colcheta ~ Herdado do Rocim Mariaba  ~ Torre de Palma Arinto & Alvarinho ~ Adega de Redondo Porta da Ravessa

Let me first say, every one of these Alentejo wines is worth exploring  

 

Marques de Borba Colheita White 2021 ~ Suggested Retail $12.00

WORDS FROM THE MASTER: “Creating a wine is an art that in Portugal we have been perfecting for centuries, today reinforced by greater knowledge and better means. Rarely a good wine is the result of chance. The experience I have acquired over time as an oenologist leads me to believe that a wine reflects the nature of the land that saw it born and is the expression of who produces it. Knowledge, experience and technology allow us to rigorously perfect the various factors that influence the identity of a wine. Shaping our country’s natural potential in this area, creating and reinventing each wine, is a passion for me. It is this passion that I have the pleasure to present to you here and to share with you in every wine I make. ” João Portugal Ramos Vinhos

Marquês de Borba Colheita, Alentejo DOC 2020 ~ FROM THE WINERY: The title Marques de Borba was granted to an ancestor of the winemaker, who was distinguished by his enormous culture and passion for the arts. That same passion inspired us in the creation of this wine that seeks to dignify the enormous winemaking potential of this region. Sustainable Grape Growing…

The indigenous varieties for this wine are Arinto, Antão Vaz, and Viognier. These grapes were buried in the process of wine making, literally in mineral grains, schist soil (Wiki).

Limestone is famous for quality winemaking, for sure. It’s found in many famous regions in the Alentejo being one of them. Limestone is created from decomposed bodies of fish and other organic materials (who knew fish?). It’s found in ancient sea beds,and this is going on right now with bodies of water as they dry out… People are again exploring the earth’s global water shifts. Limestone has good drainage, great for growing healthy vines not soaked in water coming wet weather. And it’s known to also retain water in sunny, dry weather. Just great soil. Wine grapes that are grown in limestone are long-lived due to their high acidity.

The following grapes, for the Marques de Borba Colheita White 2021, were all hand-picked early morning, which preserved their freshness. When harvested, they were then placed into small containers:

  • 70 percent Arinto ~ This one produces high acid wines, and helps with the red ones to remain a rosé.
  • 15 percent Antão Vaz ~ Vibrant tropical fruit flavors, is the full-bodied white star of Alentejo.
  • 15 percent Viognier ~ A more full-bodied wine, that’s altogether aromatic with hints of stone fruit stone – like apricot and maybe peach leaning right into tropical fruit, like pineapple.

It’s color is a pale straw yellow. On the nose, it had great minerality, with lemony, citrus flavors. Due to its soil, it has a well-corresponded acidity. Quality fruit with a long finish is just so refreshing!

Really so yummy!

Winemaking: The grapes were cooled down in a cold chamber prior to wine to fermenting, which happened in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks, I love this wine, because it’s just right acidic, first and foremost, has classic tropical and stone fruit flavors, with a tiny bit of body, from the Viognier on the finish.

Conventural Reserva DOC  ~ Suggested Retail $25.00

GENERAL INFO for DOC: Designation of Controlled Origin ~ This means it has a level of distinction from its location, for anyone wondering.

Their region has a very particular terroir, benefiting the Adega de Portalegre Winery. It allows them to create singular, distinctive wines, with an unrivaled persona. This benefit has allowed the region to also receive numerous national and international awards, over the winery’s existence. It’s one of the most emblematic producers of the region, reflecting the essence of their terroir.

What struck me right away was the corkish label. This wine does come from one the world’s largest cork producers: “Almost 35% of cork forest worldwide is in Portugal and their annual production is 150,000 tons, over a third in the world.”

This image below I took when in the Alentejo, of an oak, cork tree. The Alentejo is “cork country,” too. Portugal produces 50 percent of all the corks in the world.

FROM WINERY: “Founded in 1954 and inserted in the Natural Park of Serra de São Mamede, ever since, the Adega de Portalegre Winery distinguished itself by the quality and originality of its wines.

“In Alentejo, the park is located in a border region in the northeast of this viticultural area. The large park is 138,379 acres, and includes the villages of Portalegre, Castelo de Vide, Marvão and Arronches.

“The region of Portalegre is a terroir unique, allowing that the Adega de Portalegre Winery creates its wines with a huge eccentricity, singularity and personality, expressed by the numerous national and international awards that it has been receiving for over more than 60 years.” The terroir of the wines comes from vineyards located between 1,969 to 2396 feet, with the average age of the vineyards being 70 years old. It’s maintenance with its ancestral culture of wine, where quality and typicity are the main purposes. Consequently, this region allows Adega de Portalegre to produce wines with an articulate, eccentric, and singular expressiveness.

This image below I took when in the Alentejo, of an oak, cork tree. The Alentejo is “cork country,” too. Portugal produces 50 percent of all the corks in the world.

 

I really do appreciate the symbolism of their textured label. Corks are sustainable, breaking down quickly, and recycled back into the earth efficiently, helping to save our planet. They instantly got me vote, and then the wines was… delicious. I think,,, no, I KNOW my palate is what’s called a super palate. It’s not a blessings, unless you realize that each sip is a powerful rendition of what this wine is going to be all about. I used to think it was a curse, but I just had an aha moment. Super palates are slow and deliberate, one flavor at a time. But, we wouldn’t be up to par with those who aren’t super palates. They taste and Viola! Every adjective under then sun comes up, and they can move on. Imagine. I’m happy for them, they make quick decisions on wine flavors. They can just say, “Next.” I can’t do that . I need to devour the bottle and take my time along the process,

This is a complex, white wine from Portugal… Think a creme sauce with fish, like this modern style traditional fried cod fish filet, with mashed potato cream and coriander lime relish.

TASTING NOTES: Notes with citrus fruits, dominated by tangerine and lime, on the nose, along with mineral notes, spices, and a hints of beeswax. The mouth feel and taste was full bodied and a juicy character, which had lots of freshness and a lingering finish.. It can be a show for days, as the wine continues to evolve. There’s a great convenience to storing you wine each evening in a refrigerator, until finished. Each day is a building upon our knowledge base about some really fabulously inexpensive and worthy wines, just in case you haven’t already heard. Use your palate to explore. I found each of these wines to be delightful as the days went by.

 

WINE GRAPE VARIETIES

  • Arinto: One of their most noble grapes, Alentejo’s best white blending variety, thanks to its exuberant acidity. Discreet aroma. Green apple, lemon and lime freshness and mineral notes favored by many wine lovers. Arinto has large leaves for shading and super-high acidity, making it well suited to the hot Alentejo climate. WHITE WINE to blend: for smoothness. Wine Blog: Arinto ~ This one produces high acid wines, and helps with the red ones to remain a rosé.
  • Fernão Pires: Very aromatic and also acts as a base for sparkling and sweet dessert wines
  • Syrah: This variety is best known as a French Rhone variety, but also does well in Portugal.
  • Bical: A yellow-skinned wine grape, it’s grown in the Portuguese regions of Bairrada and Dão. It has high acidity and combines really well with Arinto, in various sparkling wines from the region. That written, it;s also a dry, table wines, both blended and varietally speaking. Bical, with its stone fruit flavors of Peachcots.
What a delicious training for what Portuguese wines have to offer!

Herdade do Esporão Colheita Bronco ~ Suggested Retail $18.00

Falling in love with the Herdade do Esporão wines, a while ago, was easy. Then, in a ZOOM meeting, with João Roquette, president of the Esporão Group, this brand really sealed the deal.

ZOOM was really cool, especially with their commitment to sustainably. I’m on record for really appreciating wine companies that have a commitment to Mother Earth. Yes, I go to farmer’s markets, and just sealed a deal with one f favorite growers. When the markets go into dormancy, that doesn’t mean you have a new best friend on her own farm. I’m now all set for the winter. This is the same passion that Esporão exudes. Strict attention to detail, really feeling the earth under their feet, and being kind to it and it’s very kind to them.

Located near Reguengos de Monsaraz: Their back labels stand behind their front label: Herdade do Esporão, located by Reguengos de Monsaraz, maintains its boundaries unchanged since 1267. Our viticulture results in the production of high-quality grapes. Innovative tulip shaped porous tanks, in our new “Lagares” winery, preserves the principal characteristics of the wines made from these vineyards. Since 1985, Esporão maintains its commitment to produce the finest wines that nature provides, in the most responsible and inspiring way possible.

Some details:

  • Each wine is certified vegan by the European Vegetarian Union. In the spirit of delivering more eco-friendly packaging, the wines come in lighter weight bottles (certified ISO 9001), shipped in cartons made from 100% varnish-free (certified ISO 14001), recycled cardboard. Monte Velho (pronounced MON-teh VELL-yo), meaning “old mound,” references a high point on the Herdade do Esporão estate, capped by the ancient square fortress depicted on the labels.
  • Esporão Group is a leading advocate for eco-practices, as more and more Portuguese growers adopt the same integrated production system as practiced at Esporão. These sustainable measures, which preclude the use of pesticides and herbicides, are crucial to soil quality and therefore wine quality. For example, sustainably raised vines are better able to withstand drought, a major concern in this naturally arid region. The clay-ey, big-pored soil also helps hold precious water. The clay is fragmented schist, and the low fertility soil here is a mix of granite and schist. Fruit for the Monte Velho duo comes from vines that are, on average, 18 years old – surprising, and a real value in light of the $12 SRP.
  • Esporão Group: One of Portugal’s premier wine companies, with wines sold in 50 countries, Esporão is also an eco-wine tourism pioneer, starting with its namesake Herdade do Esporão property in Alentejo. In 2008, Esporão acquired Quinta dos Murças in the Douro, followed by Quinta do Ameal in Vinho Verde in 2019. Tourism opportunities exist at all three. The portfolio also includes estate-produced olive oils and Sovina Craft Beer. https://www.esporao.com/en/

 

TASTING NOTES

This wine, along with this creamy fish dish… Oh baby, if you love a creamy fish soup with salmon, potatoes, onions, carrots, some dill and celery? Remember, Portugal in on the sea, and Atlantic fisheries are the second most important in the world. Fish and white wine,.. a known pleaser of some interesting food and wine pairings..

The aromas are delicious, first citrus fruits like lime and tangerine. And then it’s rounded out a bit like brioche bread and a touch of spice. Round on my palate it went. Simply delicious as this soup suggests.

From the winery:

  • Each wine is certified vegan by the European Vegetarian Union. In the spirit of delivering more eco-friendly packaging, the wines come in lighter weight bottles (certified ISO 9001), shipped in cartons made from 100% varnish-free (certified ISO 14001), recycled cardboard. Monte Velho (pronounced MON-teh VELL-yo), meaning “old mound,” references a high point on the Herdade do Esporão estate, capped by the ancient square fortress depicted on the labels.
  • Esporão Group is a leading advocate for eco-practices, as more and more Portuguese growers adopt the same integrated production system as practiced at Esporão. These sustainable measures, which preclude the use of pesticides and herbicides, are crucial to soil quality and therefore wine quality. For example, sustainably raised vines are better able to withstand drought, a major concern in this naturally arid region. The clay-ey, big-pored soil also helps hold precious water. The clay is fragmented schist, and the low fertility soil here is a mix of granite and schist. Fruit for the Monte Velho duo comes from vines that are, on average, 18 years old – surprising, and a real value in light of the $12 SRP.
  • Esporão Group: One of Portugal’s premier wine companies, with wines sold in 50 countries, Esporão is also an eco-wine tourism pioneer, starting with its namesake Herdade do Esporão property in Alentejo. In 2008, Esporão acquired Quinta dos Murças in the Douro, followed by Quinta do Ameal in Vinho Verde in 2019. Tourism opportunities exist at all three. The portfolio also includes estate-produced olive oils and Sovina Craft Beer. https://www.esporao.com/en/

Herdade do Rocim Mariana ~ Suggeested Retail $16.00

 

The company Rocim is the owner of Herdade do Rocim and Vale da Mata. It’s a fascinating company, which was a project initiated by Movicortes. This parent company is responsible for the strategy, management, monitoring, and control of its associated companies. really diversified in its holding. It’s all about trusted qualities, first. It’s no surprise that this wine is delightfully delectable.

An incredible winery taking on all of the arts in the Alentejo, Herdade Rocim is elegantly classic. Let’s begin with information on the back label, because it’s the very first thing we do, when we get the bottle of wine and want to know more. Like any element of art, you have the liquid art and want more info about it. “From the terraces of the Rocim Winery, you can see the tower of (the Medieval)  Beja Castle, located in the Medieval parish of Beja, the municipality of Beja, and the Portuguese district of Beja . All things Beja!

The Mariana label is reminding us of Mariana Alcoforado, the cloistered nun, as she wrote to her lover. Mariana is the author of Letters of a Portuguese Nun, a famous classic of universal literature.  “I see quite well that I love you like crazy. However, I won’t complain from all the violence of my heart raptures…” In Cartas Portuguesas. So, here we’ve established the inspiration for this wine. It is not a surprise to me that the back label is from famous Portuguese literature. When I was in Portugal, I was given books of poetry, by a friend, which I till treasure. All this for a $!6 of white wine.

So, what about the wine… From their UK agent, HN wines:: “Herdade do Rocim is an estate located between Vidigueira and Cuba, in the Lower Alentejo. It comprises 120 hectares, 70 of which are made up of vineyards and 10 hectares of olive trees. Since its inception in 2000, Herdade do Rocim has invested heavily in the vineyards, replanting vines and introducing new varieties. They are pioneers in ‘amphora wines’, following the ancient traditions of vinification in pots known as ‘Tahla’. The vineyard is cultivated manually and minimal intervention is used in the cellar, to produce fresh, elegant and mineral wines. In 2018, Herdade do Rocim was awarded Best Wine Producer by Revista de Vinhos.”

 

This was beautiful, when tasted this past summer. I loved the delicate aromas of pear and lychee, with a bit of minerality. It’s a very light wine and totally refreshing. It has undeniable tropical notes on a keyboard with a range, it was delightfully enjoyable. If you like an easygoing wine, this is one to start with these upcoming holidays, I believe this one would be great with appetizers.

Any light, fresh cheese on a platter of hors d’oeuvres would create a great complement, for most of these wines… This one most especially, though, that fits into this holiday category is with a “Cabra” cheese. In French, this is called a “Chèvre,” in English it’s called goat cheese. However you spell or say it, it’s great small talk, when a host brings these two food and wine elements together. Herdade do Rocim + Cabra = a day to blissfully enjoy and remember.

The Alentejo, Portugal blend is

  • Antão Vaz 60% ~ Vibrant tropical fruit flavors, is the full-bodied white star of Alentejo.
  • Arinto 30% ~ This one produces high acid wines, and helps with the red ones to remain a rosé.
  • Alvarinho 10% ~ Very refreshing, white wine, coming from a green-skinned, grape variety, which is better known as being native to the coastal Spanish regions of Galicia and the Iberian Peninsula.

As you search for bargains in wine – this wine, along with others in this story – a representation of how delicious Portuguese wines are; important on the world stage, singular to their indigenous heritage, and producing wines with their own historic singularities.

Torre de Palma Arinto & Alvarinho ~ Suggested Retail $40

[PHOTO COLLAGE by Torre del Palma ] I’m borrowing their collage, because it says it all! A hotel, restaurant, wine house, equestrian center, and accomplishments that will leave you wanting more. This isn’t just a day trip, it’s an entire respite.

 

I love this winery’s comprehensive concept! It’s so singular, and miles away from what we think about, when we think of visiting wineries in California, for instance. Torre de Palma is positioned as a wine hotel and restaurant, and is part of the American Design Hotels series. In the United States, if a hotel has its own house wine, it must also have other wines brands available to appreciate, allowing for competition to remain intact. In this Portuguese Torre de Palma Hotel, they have a different advantage, since it’s in Portugal with differing laws. The improvement, for me, is that only their wines are being featured and served on their expansive property. It must be such a treat for consumers, because it’s a total wine encompassment and focus, with delicious foods to pair with their wines, too. All that, as well as other lifestyle amenities. Quoting their Website. “Torre de Palma is a world of authentic experiences to discover. We have selected the best experiences for you: from wine, to gastronomy, well-being and contact with nature.” While many of us will have to travel a great distance to experience their luxurious offerings, we don’t have to travel very far to taste their “experience.”

 

As the photo above states: “WINEMAKER Duarte de Deus, an enologist, in love with Alto Alentejo, found in Torre de Palma a challenging project, full of history and symbolism. In the vineyards, he identified the small parcels and the bedrock, in order to make the most of each variety. In the winery, he believes that only with minimal intervention great wines are produced that reveal, over time, the full potential of the region.” It’s important to also note that in most European countries, many viticulturists are also very tied to the winemaking process. In many US wineries, there are two main people involved. One is in charge of the vineyards, and the other is in charge of making what comes into the winery from the vineyards. While the American winemakers are now becoming an integral part of the grapes being grown and decisions being made, that wasn’t the way, when I began 20 years ago. For best results, it really should be a seamless endeavor. But then, wine has a history of making wine since 6000 BC, the US has a lot of catching up to do. This not across the board… Wine is now made in all 50 states, so it’s as regional as Europe is. We’ve got some pretty great wines here, too.

WINE NOTES: This Torre de Palma 2021 blend is crafted with two of the most exemplary Portuguese grape varieties in Torre de Palma’s sustainable program:

The BLEND of this dry wine:

  • Arinto: One of their most noble grapes, Alentejo’s best white blending variety, thanks to its exuberant acidity. Discreet aroma. Green apple, lemon and lime freshness and mineral notes favored by many wine lovers. Arinto has large leaves for shading and super-high acidity, making it well suited to the hot Alentejo climate.
  • Alvarinho: Very refreshing, white wine, coming from a green-skinned, grape variety, which is better known as being native to the coastal Spanish regions of Galicia and the Iberian Peninsula.

This combination of varieties is absolutely fresh and tasty, because it has become a really stylistic, wine grape fusion. Lots of spirited acidity. The nose was a bit discrete, and it definitely says it’s of a Golden Delicious apple type, hinting at Meyer lemon. More than the exuding, distinctive tasting notes we’ve come to expect from other Alentejo’s whites, this seems quite unique, and totally delicious (keeping mind how unique each palate is). I did love the minerality and friendly acidity. It’s just natural suited to the heat of how hot the Alentejo can get.

The grapes were hand harvesting, and then fermented in used Burgundy barrels. Here, it aged here for six months, giving it a bit more rounded flavors. Vibrant acidity with good salinity. Only 245 cases were produced and the 2,940 bottle within were all numbered. (Kinda wonderful!) The wine Pairs well with grilled Prawns, naturally oysters and al pesto pasta. How’s this for really delicious!

Now, off to Adega de Rodondo, and Porta da Ravessa…

Adega de Redondo ~ Porta da Ravessa ~ Suggested Retail $15.00

 

[PHOTO IMAGE: by Jo Diaz, all rights reserved.] When in Portugal, years ago, I visited the Adega de Redondo Co-Op in Borba. The following Porta da Reserva wine is the flagship wine of Adega de Redondo, While getting into their library was a real adventure. So many options being held for special occasions.

Porta da Ravessa are Flagship Wines of Adega de Redondo

And, one more image, completely unique… Redondo in Portuguese means Round. When we arrived that fateful morning, at Adega de Redondo, I would begin my learning curve for not only a Portuguese cooperative, but I also learned the Portuguese word for “round” is Redondo. This curvaceous, stucco-white structure is for wine storage. Its shape stuck me, being the former wet nurse for my kids and knowing how milk is stored in bodies. Very clever containers, yet not to be seen elsewhere in any wine company I’ve visited around the globe. This is not to say it’s not possible, it was simply a first for me, and so far the last. The white stucco makes it just look so pure. Wise marketing at its best.

 

 

About Borba ~ Borba, a municipality of the Évora District, in Portugal. To understand the people and their culture helps to understand the wines. This small village has many points of historical interest, including the ruins of a medieval castle, and many churches, built from the 15th to the 18th centuries:

  • Church of Nossa Senhora das Neves (15th century)
  • Church of the Convent of Servas de Deus (17th and 18th centuries)
  • a large stone Cross and Church of S. Bartolomeu (17th century)
  • Church of Santo António (17th century), their Town Hall was built in the 17th century
  • Church of Misericórdia (16th-18th century)
  • Via-Crucis (18th century), Fountain of Bicas (18th century)
  • Convent of Nossa Senhora da Consolação do Bosque (16 to 18th century)
  • Quinta (Estate) do General (16th-18th century)

 

Notice the grape cluster (above), constructed of marble. When a quarry sits just outside of a community, once it’s been discovered this asset is in the area, it makes perfect sense that that resource is then used to help construct the town. This image of a wall was taken in one of Borba’s plazas; it is completely constructed of marble, with the walkway also being constructed of marble pieces. It’s used profusely throughout the town, as if it were a simple product of nature, rather than a precious commodity. The lower portion of a house’s border, by perhaps a couple of feet, is made of marble. These are everyday houses. The marble is not reserved for churches, public buildings, or impressive retail outlets. It’s just part of the neighborhood… gorgeous marble.

Porta da RavessaIt was so marvelous to see a recognized brand in this co-operative’s portfolio, once more. While there, I learned how meticulous this company is in everything it does; from grapes coming in, to processing them, aging, bottling, getting them into the marketplace, and a good deal of endemic art around their azulejo walls. The Porta da Ravessa brand takes its inspiration from the iconic door, of the centuries-old Castle of Redondo. It’s still bearing visible yard and cubit marks.

 

 

 

 

 

My earlier visit label during a 2009 tasting in 2009, can now be compared to today’s incarnation.

THEIR HISTORY in brief: Founded in 1956, by 14 wine growers, Adega Cooperativa de Redondo was one of the first to be established, and has played a decisive role in the rebirth and subsequent development of Alentejo wine from the outset, particularly from the 1980s forward.

This is a co-op winery for growers and producers. They serve about 200 producers and 75 percent of the viticulture in the Redondo location. It’s also one of the largest co-ops for wines in Portugal. As a global producer, their global production is 3,000,000 liters of wine per year. In cases, that’s. slightly over 21,000,000 cases of wine per year. A big facility like this needs deserves this dump bucket, would you agree? And yet, they have their micro areas. Now, to a smaller producer…

About this Porta da Ravessa, white wine: Fresh and young with lots of fruit adjectives like citrus, and then the stone fruits, like peach. It was quite smooth on one hand, then a lively finish followed as I savored and swallowed. How could I not love this one, when I was so well schooled, early on. It was definitely like a friend from 2009 influencers, from at least 20 years ago. It’s so wonderful to see it coming back around in my life’s work. Please find it. You won’t be disappointed.

Think fresh cod and be prepared to be (somewhat) transported to Lovely Portugal. The dish: Modern style traditional fried skrei cod fish filet, with mashed potato cream and coriander lime relish.