The Wine Enthusiast recently did a special feature on what they think are the World’s Best Wine Tour Destinations for 2016. Here are some more details on one of the destinations on their list: Alentejo in Portugal.
8. Alentejo, Portugal
The Alentejo is not very well-known, but it is a very big part of Portugal and is rapidly becoming something of a leading light among the Portuguese wine regions.
This is what The Wine Enthusiast has to say about it in their intro:
“Rustic charm meets ready-to-drink reds in Portugal’s most relaxed winemaking region. With miles of vineyards and cork oak trees, historic hilltop cities and deserted beaches – not to mention increasingly varied hotels and restaurants – Alentejo has something for every visitor. Portugal’s largest region, Alentejo covers a third of the country.”
Alentejo begins a short drive outside Lisbon and extends all the way to Spain. A lot of recent investments have made this into one of Portugal’s most dynamic wine regions. Alentejo is a favourite destination among the wine enthusiasts who want to discover “the other Portugal”.
Read on for more on why to expect when wine touring in Alentejo in Portugal.
What to expect
As soon as you leave Lisbon the landscape becomes rural. Big fields and forests. It is quite flat and, except in springtime, dry. In summer it can be very hot. But if you look closely you will find a very lively landscape. It is a region where you, curiously, find many storks. The pylons are constructed with special platforms to allow the storks to build nests. This is also where you will find most of Portugal’s cork tree forests. Portugal is the world’s largest producer of natural corks.
Many of the wineries are modern and quite big. There have been EU incentives to encourage people to invest in this traditionally quite poor part of Portugal, and it shows. This has had a tremendous impact on the wine industry with Alentejo now making some of Portugal’s most interesting wines.
What you should not miss
It is fascinating to see how this region has been transformed from a rural and underdeveloped area to one of Portugal’s most dynamic wine regions in only a few decades.
Take the opportunity to explore the wines from some of the very unique grape varieties grown here. For example Antão Vaz, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Roupeiro for the whites and Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Castelão, Trincadeira and more for the reds. One more fun thing: try and learn how to pronounce them in Portuguese…
Travel with us on a wine tour to Alentejo in Portugal!