Vinho do Alentejo
DOC Alentejo e Vinho Regional Alentejano
CVRA is responsible for the promotion of Alentejo Wines, in the national market and in international target markets.
The Alentejo wines also aim to encourage responsibility and moderation in wine consumption and to contribute to the prevention of abusive consumption and the improper use of alcoholic beverages.
The Alentejo Regional Wine Commission (CVRA) was created in 1989 and is a body governed by private law and public utility that certifies, controls and protects DOC Alentejo wines and Regional Alentejo wines. Its activity is financed through the sale of the guarantee stamps that are part of the Alentejo wines counter labels.
All wine producers in the region who wish to use the Controlled Origin Denomination (DOC Alentejo) or the Geographical Indication (Regional Alentejo) must obtain certification from the Regional Wine Commission of Alentejo (CVRA).
DOC Alentejo and Alentejo Regional Wine
The wine region DOC Alentejo includes eight main wine sub-regions:
Borba; Évora; Farm / Yellow; Moura; Round; Portalegre; Reguengos; Vidigueira.
Total vineyard area (DOC Alentejo and Regional Alentejo): 21 970 ha
Vineyard area DOC: 11 763 ha (3215 Reguengos; 3423 Borba; 1896 Redondo; 1707 Vidigueira; 705 Évora; 336 Portalegre; 240 Moura and 241 Granja-Amareleja)
The vast and differentiated territory of the Alentejo is divided administratively into three districts, Portalegre, Évora and Beja, which, together, make up the natural boundaries of the Alentejo Regional Wine.
In spite of the marked regional differences, despite the multiplicity of caste present in the vineyards, despite the evident soil heterogeneity that characterizes the Alentejo, with dispersed outcrops of mud, shale, granite, rolled pebbles, limestone and clays, there are many common traits in great Alentejo plain.
Culture of the vine.
The vineyard area in Alentejo is around 22,100 hectares, which corresponds to only about 10 per cent of the area devoted to culture throughout the country.
In this region are the poorest soils, being a basically basic culture (with the exception of some old vines) and besides being characterized by lands with soft slopes whose dominant exposure is to the South.
Portalegre escapes the rule, since in this region predominates the vine in slope.
The beginning of the vegetative cycle of the grapevine is marked by the sprouting of the earliest grape varieties, namely Fernão Pires and Castelão, which usually occurs during the month of March. For a few years the great majority of Alentejo vineyards have undergone a practice of which significantly reduces the use of pesticides, selecting the least toxic and rationalizing their application.
The plantations are aligned, even in the older vines. The traditional driving system is the low vine, of small to medium vegetative expansion, usually conducted in “bilateral cord” or “double guyot”.
The vine is a shrub – a climbing plant – with a relatively long life cycle. Each natural variety – caste – has its own foliage, with distinct clusters in size and shape, offering different flavors that give rise to different musts and, necessarily, wines with different profiles, flavors and aromas
Although wines rarely smell or taste exclusively of grapes, the varieties of grapes from which each wine is made, in extreme or in batch, are the main influence on the style and character of each wine. There are over 4000 varieties of grapes identified and cataloged, presenting Portugal as the second country in the world with the highest number of indigenous varieties, unique and exclusive varieties of the national territory, nonexistent in any other part of the world.
In Alentejo, in addition to the many native grape varieties that have a strong regional character, varieties perfectly adapted to the geography and conditions of the Alentejo landscape, other relatively new varieties stand out, with a relatively recent introduction, recognized varieties that reinforce the Alentejo winemaking leadership.
Required grapes from vineyeards in the elaboration of DOC Alentejo wine products that must be represented individually or together,
A minimum of 75% of the final lot:
- Red Grapes:Alfrocheiro; Alicante Bouschet; Aragonez; Cabernet Sauvignon; Castelão; Syrah; Touriga Nacional;
- White Grapes:Antão Vaz; Arinto; Fernão Pires; Manteúdo, Perrum; Rabo-de-Ovelha; Síria (Roupeiro); Trincadeira das
Varieties that can be used in the elaboration of DOC Alentejo wine products, and which should represent in isolation or together, up to a maximum of 25% of the lot after all:
- Red Grapes:Baga; caladoc; Carignan; Cinsaut; Corropio; Grand Noir; Grenache; Tinta Grossa; Manteúdo Preto; Merlot;
- White Grapes:Alicante Branco; Alvarinho; Bical; Chardonnay; Chasselas; Diagalves; Encruzado; Gewurztraminer; Gouveio;
Larião; Malvasia Rei (Assario); Moscatel Graúdo; Mourisco Branco; Pinot Gris; Riesling; Sauvignon; Sémillon; Sercial;
|Red Grapes||White Grapes|
|Aragonez; Trincadeira; Castelão; Alicante Bouschet; Alfrocheiro; Touriga Nacional; Syrah; Cabernet Sauvignon||Antão Vaz; Arinto; Roupeiro; Fernão Pires|
- Alfrocheiro: Aromas to wild berries, blackberry and strawberry, resulting in balanced and concentrated wines.
- Alicante Bouschet: Herbaceous and red fruit aromas, with strong structure, complexity and concentrated color.
- Aragonese (roriz or tempranillo ink): Aromas to flowers, berries and pepper, yielding full-bodied and complex wines.
- Castelão (parakeet): Aromas of gooseberry, raspberry, plum and wild berries, with a creased structure and aging capacity.
- Touriga Nacional: Floral aromas (violets) and ripe fruit (plum, blackberry, bergamot), in a register of elegance and concentration.
- Trincadeira: Fruity aromas and vegetables, giving rise to wines of intense color and with potential of aging. White
- Antão Vaz: Aromas to tropical and exotic fruits, allowing structured, firm and full-bodied wines.
- Closet: Floral aromas, tropical fruit, citrus, peach and melon. Elegant and soft structure.
- Arinto: Aromas of lime, lemon, green apple and some vegetable, resulting in fresh wines, with a strong acidity, with a strong mineral profile and good storage potential.
Alentejo Wine Route
The Alentejo is, in its entirety, the largest region of Portugal, occupying about 1/3 of the national territory. Limited to the North by the Tagus River and to the South by the Algarve, the Alentejo is characterized by its extensive plain. Only two great rivers cross it: the Sado, from South to North and the Guadiana, coming from Spain and marking part of the border with the neighboring country (from Caia, on the outskirts of Elvas, to Monsaraz).
In its course and in its tributaries (Caia, Xévora, Degebe, Xarrama and Almansor), dams of varying dimensions were created, the most recent being the Alqueva Dam, which originated the largest artificial lake in Europe. These dams have been making possible irrigated crops and minimizing the ancestral problem of water scarcity in this territory.
The settlement of the population in this territory is ancient and has been proven by numerous prehistoric remains, among which are the rock paintings of São Pedro do Escoural and the various megalithic monuments, made up of tapirs, menhirs and cromleques that are scattered throughout the Alentejo.
The archaeological evidence also documents the Roman occupation, whose legacy, present from north to south of the region, includes the former libris of the city of Évora, the Temple of Diana, one of the most famous monuments of Portugal.
It is also in the Alentejo that are the main marks of the Arab occupation of the Portuguese territory, or in the toponymy of many settlements, customs, traditional arts (with emphasis on Oriental tapestry), or cultural manifestations , such as singing and poetry.
Discovering the Alentejo will always be a meeting with immense and breathtaking landscapes, with a vast and monumental historical legacy, with a rich and unique culture and a serene and hospitable people.
Naturally, will also be an occasion to know more and better the Alentejo wines. Wine tourism in the Alentejo reveals in an amazing and didactic journey the different castes and terroirs of the region.
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