For North Europeans in search of a summer trifecta of sun, sea and sand, Portugal’s southern coastline exerts an irresistible allure. Savvy International wine lovers are now following suit, on a separate voyage of discovery into the country’s hot, dry interior and the vineyards of southern Portugal’s Alentejo (ah-len-TAY-zhoo) region.
As with many areas of Southern Europe, wine has been made in the Alentejo for time immemorial, most of it spent in quiet obscurity. But with a winemaking revival well underway, supported by the investment of EU funds, that is fast starting to change.
Alentejo is blessed with an astonishing array of native grapes. With over 250 indigenous grape varieties, Portugal, has the highest density of native grapes per square mile of any country in the world, including Italy. Proud local producers concentrate on those native grapes, which are often blended.
Evan Goldstein, MS, an authority on the wines of Portugal, is our guide to one of the most promising wine regions in southern Europe today.