Herdade Do Esporao Alicante Bouschet (stained labels) 2012
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Herdade do Esporão ("The Esporão Homestead") with nearly 700 hectares of organic vineyards and olive groves, proudly stands as the largest organic estate in Portugal. Located in the Alentejo’s, Reguengos Sub-Region, Herdade do Esporão produces full-bodied yet elegant wines that are rounded and seductive, due to the combination of poor, stony soils, and a dramatic climate. It is here, that Alentejo wines are most balanced, whilst powerful, appealing, lively and with good aging potential.
Herdade do Esporão boasts a rich history, with its boundaries that have remained unchanged since the year 1267. The winery is often represented by the iconic white tower, built in the 1400's which stands a symbol of the historical shift from Mid-evil to Modern times in Portugal. Today, Herdade do Esporão remains under the ownership of the Roquette family. Together, both family and estate represent a winery that is founded on sustainability and organic agricultural practices. These practices reflect a commitment to making the finest products that nature provides in a responsible and inspiring way.
Responsible for a majority of Portugal’s fine wine production—and over half of the world’s cork production—Alentejo represents a major force in Portugal’s wine industry. This southern Portugese region is characterized by stretches of rolling plains and vineyards dotted with majestic cork oaks. Access to land enables the farmers of Alentejo to produce wines in great economies of scale, without compromising quality, compared to those regions to the north. The region of Alentejo indeed covers a third of the country.
Its classified (DOP) wines must come from one of eight subregions, where elevations are a bit higher, air cooler and less fertile soils are perfect for vines. The optimal regions are Portalegre, Borba, Redondo, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Granja-Amareleja, Vidigueira, Evora and Moura. Alentejo is not without the conveniences of modern winemaking as well. Irrigation supplements low rainfall and temperature control in the winery assures high quality wines.
The potential of the area has attracted many producers and its wine production continues to grow. Alentejo’s charming, fruit-forward wines have naturally led to local and global popularity.
White wines tend to be blends of Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Arinto. However, in growing proportions, the white grapes Verdelho, Alvarinho and Viognier have been enjoying success. But red varieties actually exceed whites in Alentejo. Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Castelão grapes blend well together and are responsible for most of the Alentejo reds.
The most famous of the rare, red-fleshed grape varieties, Alicante Bouschet is known as a Teinturier grape. While most red grapes have red skin but clear flesh or pulp, the French, Alicante Bouschet and the Georgian (country) variety called, Saperavi, both have red. These make intensely hued, full-bodied red wines that take to oak well and can stand some time in the cellar. Somm Secret—While originally the product of a French crossing (Petit Bouschet and Grenache) of the late 1800s, today Alicante Bouchet grows widely in Spain and is gaining notoriety in Portugal.