Text Ilkka Sirén
I’m going to be honest with you. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Alentejo as a wine region. I know that might upset certain people but it’s the truth. I don’t have anything against Alentejo, it’s just that I’ve always gravitated more towards Northern Portugal like Bairrada, Dao, Douro and Vinho Verde.
Reason for this is simply that when I travel to Portugal I usually fly to Porto where you can access these wonderful wine regions relatively fast. Alentejo is a bit further away and I usually just don’t have time to venture that far south.
So it took me a while to visit the region, but last year I finally did. And all I can say is, WOW! Alentejo is beyond beautiful. I mean how could you not like the incredible landscape, olive oil, cork trees and warm weather. Not to mention it is the home to one of the most delicious living things on the planet, the black Iberian pig. So, if you like plenty of sunshine and good food, then you should definitely visit Alentejo.
The wines are diverse both in style and in quality. You can find some amazing vinho down in Alentejo but you will probably encounter quite a few disappointments too. But to fully appreciate and understand these wines one must visit the region and I personally can’t wait to get back there to discover more what this region has to offer.
For two years winemaker Susana Esteban searched vineyards in Alentejo before finding two plots with each its own personality, and from those two vineyards she started what appears to be a very promising project. Freshness is not the first word that comes to my mind when I think about Alentejano wine, but somehow Susana has managed to make a couple of wines that are both equipped with unusual freshness which makes the vibrant fruit pop out like a Playboy bunny from a big cake. I wouldn’t say these are the two most exciting wines in the world but they are a very welcomed breath of fresh air and this will only add to the already versatile wine pool of Alentejo.
Aventura 2012/Susana Esteban Vinho Regional Alentejano
If you would combine a handful of cute flowers stolen from your best friend’s wedding bouquet, added a dash of black pepper and liqourice, rubbed them together in your hands it would smell exactly like this wine. Well, probably not exactly but close enough. This wine reminds me of some spicy Zweigelt from Austria that I’ve tasted. Straight forward, youthful, unoaked with a lingonberry-like finish (no, I did not made that up). With “just” 13,5% which is quite moderate for Alentejo, and some lively acidity this wine offers some good old drinkability. A delightful tipple for those of us who like to embark on vinous adventures.
Procura 2011 Vinho Regional Alentejano
This particular wine was the first of this project. It’s a blend of Alicante Bouschet from a vineyard near Évora and mixed varieties of who-knows-what from an older and much cooler vineyard in Portalegre. The wine starts as quite intense yet delicate. Might even be a bit too intense if it wasn’t for the lively acidity to keep it in check. The name Procura means ‘search’ in English and no matter how much I searched I couldn’t detect the relatively high alcohol. With 14,5% this wine is balanced and has nice vibrant fruit.
(I’m not a big decanter geek but if you’re into that sort of stuff you might want to try decanting this to see if it mellows a bit.)
Headquarters- Av. António Augusto Aguiar, Nº 100, 4º Esq. / 1050-019 Lisboa
Winery – Quinta Seca da Boavista / 7490-311 Mora