Herdade do Esporão ("The Esporão Homestead") with nearly 700 hectares of organic vineyards and olive groves, proudly stands as the largest organic estate in Portugal. Located in the Alentejo’s, Reguengos Sub-Region, Herdade do Esporão produces full-bodied yet elegant wines that are rounded and seductive, due to the combination of poor, stony soils, and a dramatic climate. It is here, that Alentejo wines are most balanced, whilst powerful, appealing, lively and with good aging potential.
Herdade do Esporão boasts a rich history, with its boundaries that have remained unchanged since the year 1267. The winery is often represented by the iconic white tower, built in the 1400's which stands a symbol of the historical shift from Mid-evil to Modern times in Portugal. Today, Herdade do Esporão remains under the ownership of the Roquette family. Together, both family and estate represent a winery that is founded on sustainability and organic agricultural practices. These practices reflect a commitment to making the finest products that nature provides in a responsible and inspiring way.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white Portuguese wines of various styles.
The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red Portuguese wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry Portuguese wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
While capable of making a delightful Portugeuse dry white wine, great as an aperitif and for pairing with raw fish and oysters, Verdelho is also a major grape in the production of Madeira. While many less expensive Madeira wines can be blends of different years or grapes, including Verdelho, single-varietal Madeira represent the highest quality versions that also have long aging capacities. Sercial, Boal, Malmsey and Verdelho are the best Madeira grapes. Of the four, Verdelho is the most concentrated and smoky. It is dry, intense, spicy and is flexible in food pairings. Somm Secret—Like many other fortified wines, Madeira made of Verdelho can tolerate extreme aging and some rare bottles can still be found from the late 19th/early 20th century.