Wine Quotes of Alentejo

Surfing the net this morning, I stumbled across this great bit of detective work pieced together by Jo Diaz (Wine Blog)  in her role as advocate for Alentejan wines. Thank you Jo! Jo is a wine marketing and PR specialist based in Sonoma, but recently doing some PR work in Alentejo for some wineries here. I have had the pleasure of meeting her at the recent European Wine Bloggers Conference in Lisbon as well as the American Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma.  I will reproduce the essentials from Jo’s  article here -

Portugal and Alentejo ~ What The Influencers Are Saying About This Emerging Wine Region

Wine Blog ‘Juicy Tales’ by Jo Diaz


The Wine Advocate ~ Mark Squires

Parker’s Wine Bargains: The World’s Best Wine Values under $25 (published, 2009). “Portugal is full of fine values that manage to make it to international markets despite the exchange rate fluctuations that wreak havoc on retail pricing here… Plus, they come in distinctive blends that are hard to replicate elsewhere… s well as reasonably priced for the most part… Alentejo’s wines are immensely popular in Portugal. Transitionally, it is one of the go-to regions for value wines. The wines here are frequently called “international” for their tendency to blen red grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with local grapes like Trincadeira, Alicante Bouchet (French, but perhaps at its best in southern Portugal), and others.”

Eric Asimov ~ New York Times

Today, Portugal is a source of distinctive wines. More than anything, these wines struck me as honest. They do not try to imitate flavors and styles that are popular elsewhere.

Jancis Robinson

Portugal’s advantage in wine terms – its isolation, which has kept its inheritance of indigenous vine varieties intact and virtually unaffected by Chardonnay- and Cabernet-mania – has also been its disadvantage. The Portuguese have had this strange habit of… making wines to suit the palates of other Portuguese rather than making the sort of fruity, juicy-yet-structured wines that appeal to the majority of the world’s wine consumers. The wines that have traditionally been most respected within Portugal are incredibly tough reds that have typically spent rather too long in storage before being bottled and some slightly tired whites whose unfamiliar flavours may strike some outsiders as slightly rank. In fact Portugal has some first-class raw materials and is increasingly demonstrating the will and skill with which to transform them into exportable wines.

It is so sad that top-quality Portuguese wine is not has much widely known and appreciated. Admittedly, the fact that Portugal now has such a vibrant wine culture (I’m told that something like seven annual wine guides are published in Portugal) has meant that prices for wines most highly regarded by the Portuguese have escalated, but these wines have such a strong personality, I don’t think any interested drinker should deny themselves the Portuguese experience.

Portuguese wine is well placed to take advantage of current fashion for “heritage varieties.”

1999… “The Alentejo Region, hot and dry, in the southeast, is perhaps the most promising source of accessible table wines, full-bodied, with intense colours… and this is without a doubt one of the most promising wine growing regions in the world.”

Wine & Spirits Magazine ~ Joshua Greene, Editor and publisher

I believe that if Portugal puts its strengths first, if producers follow the lead of the great partisans of their regional wine, the artisans working with ancient vines, the curators of old mixed varietal plantings, the growers producing astonishing and graceful single vineyard wines, if commercial producers creatively build on these regional traditions rather than model their wines after the New World, the long term growth of Portugal’s wines in the US market is assured.

Few countries, if any, can compete with Portugal’s treasure of varietal diversity and the territorial diversity that sustains it. Certainly, the production of single variety wines is part of the process of understanding that diversity. But the real asset, the value in that varietal diversity, is the complexity of the blend.

American wine drinkers are more likely to find consistency buying regional blends than varietal wines from range of different Portuguese regions. Top quality regional blends as well as entertaining, creative riffs on these traditional wines will educate consumers and serve to build brand Portugal. My advice: Sustain the priceless diversity in your vineyards and use it to produce the refined and elegant wines that have made Portugal famous for centuries. The 21st century will be better for it.

Gary Vaynerchuck (US) on the Alentejo Wine Region

“I’m addicted to Portuguese wines, as a whole, as a movement. I think Portugal is bringing the best dollar for dollar value play in the US wine market, today.” ~ Dale Cruz

Portuguese White Wines: Long On Flavor, Short On Price (Originally published Oct. 21, 2008. Reposted: Tuesday, March 9, 2010)

Richard Mayson (United Kingdom, 2003)

“The south of Portugal is producing wines with clearly defined fruity flavours that are delighting the international palate without sacrificing their own identity.”

Wine & dine Magazine ~ Leena Ng (Singapore, 2009)

“The Alentejo led the way in the revolution of Portuguese wines. It is a region that has enjoyed an extraordinary success in the last decade.”

Dionísio Chaves (Brazil, 2009)

“The wines from the Alentejo have a fine balance between production, quality and price, thus providing a pleasure that is unique.”

One comment on “Wine Quotes of Alentejo

  1. Thanks for the plug, Carrie. I’m pleased that you can take advantage of all these great resources talking about your amazing Alentejo… where a piece of my heart still remains.

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Chaminé Branco

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Herbaceous crispness with a final burst of acidity.
A blend of local and international varieties from our cool Alentejan Atlantic coastal vineyards.

Cortes de Cima Branco

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A barrel aged blend of local and international varieties grown on our cool Atlantic coastal vineyards and in the warmer Alentejan interior.

Sauvignon Blanc

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A 100% Sauvignon Blanc produced exclusively from grapes grown at our new coastal vineyards near Vila Nova de Milfontes on the Alentejan coast, 3 km from the Atlantic Ocean.


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A 100% Alvarinho produced exclusively from grapes grown at our new coastal vineyards near Vila Nova de Milfontes on the Alentejan coast, 3 km from the Atlantic Ocean.

Cortes de Cima Rosé

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Crafted from pressing and fermenting early picked Aragonez (Tempranillo) and Merlot together, it is all about delicacy and lightness.

Pinot Noir

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A 100% Pinot Noir produced exclusively from grapes grown at our new coastal vineyards near Vila Nova de Milfontes on the Alentejan coast, 3 km from the Atlantic Ocean.


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Fresh, light bodied and easy drinking. With intense ruby colours and attractive ripe berry character. A fresh and young wine that is ready for immediate drinking.

The name Courela originates from one of our vineyard plots – Courela dos Pageis, and translates as ‘a strip of cultivated land’.

Chaminé Tinto

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This is our most popular wine, boasting a consistent track record. A juicy, ripe, easy drinking wine, bottled early, usually within 6 months of harvest time and without any oak ageing. Best drunk young, but will improve with short term cellaring. Mainly Aragonez (Tempranillo) and Syrah, blended with other Portuguese varieties.

The name Chaminé (pronounced: sha-min-E; translation: chimney) originates from one of our vineyard plots – Chaminé de Gião

Cortes de Cima Tinto

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Our flagship wine. Full bodied blend with ripe, silky tannins.


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Ripe rich fruit with some earth and spice.
In 1991, we were the first ones to plant Syrah in the Alentejo, choosing rootstock from southern Rhone clones. Today, our range consists of 3 different 100% Syrah varietals.


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Outstanding tannins with aromas of red berry fruits.

Known as Tempranillo in Spain, and Tinta Roriz in the north of Portugal. Always an elegant wine, it has richness with structure and outstanding tannins, which impart a good ageing ability.


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One of the more common indigenous varieties in Southern Portugal, characterized by fruit, and low tannins.

Petit Verdot

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Intense concentration, strong tannins, aromatic complexity with a refreshing natural acidity.

One of the ‘noble’ Bordeaux varieties. A late ripener, it is better suited for warmer climates, like Alentejo, where it can reach a good maturity, resulting in wines of intense concentration and color, strong tannins and aromatic complexity, while maintaining it’s freshness, thanks to it’ s ability to maintain it’s natural acidity.

Homenagem a Hans Christian Andersen

Homenagem a Hans Christian Andersen

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A special commemorative 100% Syrah launched for the bicentennial of the Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Elegant with a soft, long finish.

In 1991, we were the first ones to plant Syrah in the Alentejo, choosing rootstock from southern Rhone clones. Today, our range consists of 3 different 100% Syrah varietals. Starting with the entry level is our popular ‘Cortes de Cima Syrah’, which is bottled every vintage. Next, we move up a notch both in concentration and quality, to the mid-level range – ‘Homenagem a Hans Christian Andersen’, bottled in most vintages. We culminate at the top, with our reserve quality labeling, the iconic ‘Incógnito’, only bottled in exceptional years.

Touriga Nacional

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Lifted violet and dark berry fruit aromatics, elegant intense and long palate.

Best known as one of the 5 main varieties used for Port wine, further south here in the Alentejo it’s fruit develops a highly floral and aromatic character. It is a low producer, with both small bunches and berries.

Previous vintages have won numerous gold medals and trophies, including IWC Best Portuguese Red Trophy (2005), IWC Touriga Trophy (2003), and the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wine List (2002).


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Bold, superb balance and sumptuous finish. The mystery name refers to a time when Syrah was not permitted in Alentejo.


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The top of the range, made only in exceptional years. Complex layers of fruit, long on the palate with solid tannins.

This is the star of our range, only produced in limited quantities and in exceptional years. A full bodied blend of Aragonez, Syrah and other Portuguese varieties, barrel aged for 12 months in new oak barrels. The wine is finely structured, with a feeling of restrained power.

Previous vintages have always scored +90 Parker Points.

Olive Oil

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Our Olive Oil is produced from our own olive trees, which are from the Portuguese variety, Cobrançosa, planted shortly after our arrival to Cortes de Cima in 1988. As with our vineyards, our olivegroves are accredited under a sustainable program called ‘Integrated Protection’, which limits and regulates the use of chemicals.


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Created from pure red wine from the Portuguese Touriga Nacional variety. Aged for 5 years in American oak barrels.


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