The immense southern Portuguese province of Alentejo stretches from the Atlantic to the Spanish border for much of its length and occupies almost a third of Portugal. There are three main wine growing areas; Beja and Vidigueira south of the ancient walled town of Évora make largely white wines. Reguengos de Monsaraz, Redondo, and Borba to the west near the Spanish border, are best known for their full-bodied reds. Portalegre, further to the north, makes both red and white wines. All of these areas are not designated VQPRD.
Estate wines from the best Alentejo vintages can age for 20 years or more. Alcohol levels are in the 13% range. Serious wines are quite dense, but rarely excessively tannic.
A typical Alentejo red wine consists of roughly equal parts of Periquita, Aragonez (the local name for Tempranillo, but softer and more liqueur-like in this hot southern region), and Trincadeira. Moreto is a flowery, fast-maturing grape blended into lighter red wines intended for immediate consumption. Local regulations also permit the inclusion of up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is finding its way into some of the most prestigious wines.
The white wines are mainly from Boal, Arinto, Pendura, Assario, Rabo de Ovelha, Roupeiro, and Ramarez.
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