BODEGA ENOFORUM (REGUENGOS DE MONSARAZ, PORTUGAL)
Alentejo is Portugal’s largest political region, encompassing about one-third of the country. It’s also the least densely populated region in Portugal. About 10 percent of Alentejo is devoted to vineyards. Much of the rest is used for growing cereal grains and olives. Alicante is located in southeastern Portugal, stretching from the River Tagus, north of the city of Portalegre, south to Serpa and the Algarve. The area’s extreme climate has challenged winemakers for centuries; summer temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and lack of rain is a chronic problem. Fortunately, irrigation systems and updated harvesting and winemaking equipment are tipping the scales in favor of winemakers, and the quality of Alentejo wine is improving as modernization and innovation spread.
The Alentejo has led the way in Portugal’s wine revolution. Aside from the many tourist
attractions in the region (such as the towns of Evora, Borba and Estremoz), it is wine
that is currently putting the Alentejo region on the map, and more specifically, its red
wines. There are two distinct styles of Alentejo red. First, there is what can loosely be
termed the traditional style. These often combine earthy, herbal, undergrowth-like
savoury flavours and aromas with the fruit. Traditional Alentejo wines are often complex
and reasonably age worthy.
Then there is the modern style which show lots of intense fruit, with a richness that is
quite ‘new world’ in character, and not a million miles away from the style that has made
Australian wines such a success over recent years. Both Alentejo styles are interesting
and worthwhile, but it is the latter, more modern group of wines that has been largely
responsible for putting the Alentejo on the map as one of Portugal’s most important red