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Alentejano VR of Alentejo, Portugal

Alentejano VR of Alentejo, Portugal

Perhaps a bit confusing to any wine lover is the difference between Alentejano and Alentejo on a Portuguese wine label. Alentejo is the name of the largest wine rejoin in Portugal and covers almost a third of the country. Wines from this region can be labeled either Alentejo DOC or Alentejano VR. 

Any wines grown in Alentejo can use Alentejano VR as a classification of the wine and would then have more autonomy of choice in grape varieties and regulations. Wines with the Alentejo DOC are of higher classified areas with stricter guidelines. 

The area is surrounded with wheat plains and rolling hills. The Atlantic climate gives reliable hot summers and cold winters which produces wines that are not overly ripe but retain a sense of freshness.  The entire region is famous for red wine blends with regional varietals like Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Castelão, Touriga Nacional and blends with more common Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. For whites, the Antão Vaz is most popular making wines of great acidity and tropical fruit flavors. 

The wines are even better with food. You can sip on any of the below Alentejano wines with traditional Portuguese tapas, roasted lamb, seafood and more.


Ribafreixo – Gaudio Classico 2013
Portugal – Alentejano – Red
91 Points
Excellent freshness, finely grained tannin. Quite multi-layered in terms of taste with peppery spicy notes. Some hints of orange peel and ginger on the finish. Really good lift on the palate. Very good length, juicy, already with a fine drinkability.”

Herdade da Pimenta – Grande Escolha 2013
Portugal – Alentejano - Red
87 Points
Quite sweet and rounded fruitiness. There is a bit more oak showing up on the palate. The fruitiness seems a little sweeter and rounder on the palate. Almost like jammed preserved fruit. Quite long and spicy finish.”

Herdade De São Miguel – Art.Terra
Portugal – Alentejano - Red
90 Points 
Quite multi-layered with pepper, clove, liquorice on the finish. Nice dark fruit, yet with a good level of acidity. Balanced tannin. It still tastes like a very youthful and fresh wine. It offers a great drinkability.”

Nunes Barata - Reserva 2012
Portugal – Alentejano – Organic Wine – Red
92 Points
“A lot of density, but I think this wine is really finally combining that ripe dark fruit, with a good level of acidity. It is truly long and lingering. Great persistence and fine integration of oak on the palate. Still youthful with a present tannin, but they are quite nicely grained already. Should obviously soften from some further ageing. I like this very much for its attractive fruit.”

Esporão - Reserva 2014
Portugal – Alentejano – White
89 Points
A slight hint of nuttiness, but I do think this white wine that has a quite rich structure and good stuffing. Classically dry with a well-preserved acidity. It feels still like a quite ripe. In one sense it feels quite warm climate but it is really finely vinified because it retains the freshness. It does have a really good length as well. So I really like it.”

Comenda Grande - Reserva 2012
Portugal – Alentejano – Red
89 Points
“On the palate it offers juicy dark fruit, with flavours of dark plum, cherry, there are some spicy notes of wild herbs, liquorice. The oak is quite discreet and integrated as well. It offers a long finish, with plenty of ripe fruit. Just a hint of vanilla, pepper, liquorice on the finish. So a fine wine with ripe fruit that is well-made.”

Herdade São Miguel - Reserva 2012
Portugal – Alentejano – Red
89 Points
“It is a full-bodied wine. I think it is well-made because it is not attempting to extract too much. It is not too much oak. It is really a good expression of warm climate and naturally ripe fruit. So good juiciness and freshness with a long lingering finish, with cassis, plum and liquorice flavours. Good drinkability now, and over the coming it should develop in five, six years easily.”