Regions and Appellations Portugal Alentejo

Alentejo Wine

Alentejo is a well-known, highly respected wine region in eastern Portugal. This hot, dry area is best known for its red wines, the best of which are sold under the and Alentejo DOC (Denominacao de Origem Controlada) title. These wines are typically made from Aragonez (Tempranillo), Castelao, Trincadeira or a rich, ripe, jammy blend of the three. Although famously diverse in its portfolio of wine grapes (navigating the many names and their synonyms is a challenge), Alentejo has not been sluggish to adopt such globally popular varieties as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the most remarkable things about modern Alentejo winemaking is its ability to create a uniquely Alentejano wine style from quintessentially French grape varieties.

The region is named for its position south of the Tejo river, which bisects Portugal, entering the ocean near Lisbon. Alentejo extends across about a third of Portugal, with only the Algarve region separating it from the southern coast of the country. Even the briefest of glances at a population density map of Portugal shows that this area of the country is only very sparsely populated, in stark contrast to the northern coastal areas around Oporto. Land here is used (somewhat intensively) for the production of various cereal crops, and the cork for which Portugal is so famous. Whereas the cork plantations of the north are quite small, here in Alentejo there is sufficient free space for the thick-barked Quercus suber trees to sprawl out all over the countryside.

Cork harvesting in Alentejo

The size of Alentejo means that there is a wealth of terroir, and it is fairly difficult to generalize about the region as a whole. Broadly speaking, Alentejo has a gently undulating topography, which protects much of the land from the cooling effects of the Atlantic. This lends the land to the production of rich, easy-drinking red wines, as ripeness is easy to achieve in these conditions. However, there are some anomalies – the subregion of Portalegre is in the foothills of the mountains in the northeast of Alentejo, where the climate is considerably cooler.

Alentejo has its own DOP title, as well as a wider Vinho Regional Alentejano designation. The DOP has eight subregions, which span from the mountains to the hot, dry center of the region: Portalegre, Borba, Évora, Redondo, Reguengos, Granja-Amareleja, Vidigueira and Moura.

Alentejo has been a key center of Portugal's wine renaissance over the past few decades. Although wine production here was once dominated by a handful of government-supported cooperatives, the quantity of premium wine now generated by the region's independent smallholdings is impressive. The European Union, which has been involved in various wine improvement schemes around Europe (most obviously vine-pull schemes in France and Italy), has been quick to provide assistance here. Few in the wine world can be ignorant of the impact that Portuguese wine is now having in the market place, a great deal of which is down to this aid, and the new focus the country's wine industry has adopted. Proudly, Alentejo is leading the charge. Although temporarily suffering from the "value for money" tag that dogged Chile and its wines for so long, Alentejano wines have already shown their ability to take on the crus of France, the big-name reds of Spain, and even the most highly respected DOCG wines of Italy.

How Alentejo's upwards trajectory continues is something only time can tell. Similarly, whether the region's wine fortunes are inextricably linked to those of Portugal as a whole remains to be seen. For now, whatever the case, Alentejo continues to offer some of the best value Old World wines available.

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Most Popular Alentejo Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Cartuxa Pera Manca Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 968th 92 $453
Herdade da Maroteira Cem Reis Reserva Syrah, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Syrah 1,943rd 89 $60
Herdade do Esporao 'Esporao' Reserva, Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 2,728th 90 $21
Cartuxa Evora Colheita Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 2,754th 89 $25
Cartuxa Pera Manca Branco, Alentejo, Portugal Antao Vaz - Arinto (Pederna) 2,840th 91 $54
Herdade do Mouchao Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal Alicante Bouschet 4,080th 92 $47
Cartuxa Evora Reserva Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal Alicante Bouschet - Aragonez 5,429th 90 $50
Herdade do Mouchao Tonel 3-4, Alentejo, Portugal Alicante Bouschet 6,218th 92 $165
Herdade do Esporao Monte Velho, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 6,803rd 86 $9
Herdade das Mouras de Arraiolos 'Conde de Arraiolos' Premium Tinto, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Rare Red Blend 7,166th $9
Sao Miguel do Sul Tinto, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 7,247th 87 $11
Cortes de Cima Chamine Tinto, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Syrah - Tempranillo 9,098th 86 $11
Joao Portugal Ramos Marques de Borba Reserva, Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 10,215th 90 $49
Herdade do Esporao Private Selection, Alentejo, Portugal Alicante Bouschet - Aragonez 10,365th 91 $58
Herdade do Peso 'Trinca Bolotas', Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 10,540th 87 $11
Joao Portugal Ramos Marques de Borba, Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 10,682nd 87 $11
Parras 'Montaria' Tinto, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Alicante Bouschet - Aragonez - Trincadeira 10,944th 85 $7
Quinta do Mouro Tinto, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Rare Red Blend 11,195th 90 $37
Bacalhoa Quinta do Carmo Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 12,005th 89 $20
Herdade de Sao Miguel Colheita Seleccionada, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Alicante Bouschet - Aragonez - Trincadeira 12,364th 88 $9
Cartuxa Eugenio de Almeida EA Tinto, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Rare Red Blend 12,591st 85 $9
Herdade do Esporao 'Esporao' Reserva Branco, Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese White Blend 13,566th 89 $17
Cortes de Cima Incognito, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal Syrah 13,820th 90 $89
Carmim 'Reguengos' Reserva, Alentejo, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 14,457th 86 $9
Cartuxa Scala Coeli Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal Rare Red Blend 15,048th 90 $77
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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