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Esporão Reserva Tinto, Alentejo 2017

Red Wine from Portugal
A rich, complex Portuguese blend of local and non-indigenous grapes still marked by its 12 months in French and particularly American oak, which will become fully integrated in time. This is a wine with a proven track record and it is already velvety and spicy with generous long flavour.
is no longer available
Code: PW8351

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • 14.5% Alcohol
  • Bouquet/flavour marked by oak
  • Now to 2026
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Portugal

Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the...
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.

The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.

Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.

Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.

Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties.

Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.

Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.

Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus

Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.

The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
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Herdade do Esporão

The boundaries of Herdade do Esporão, in the Alentejo region of Portugal, were established in the thirteenth century, and since then it has become increasingly famous for its wine and olive oil production.

Herdade do Esporão’s vineyard nursery houses an astonishing 194 grape varieties, most of which are indigenous Portuguese varieties, and 37 of which are in current production and have been selected because they best represent the Alentejo region. They work closely with educational and research institutions to catalogue and assess the rich heritage of Portugal's own grapes in order to preserve them for future generations. They are grown on schist-clay and granite soils derived from eruptive rock, and the vineyards’ location means they also benefit from many hours of sunshine each day.

The secret to Herdade do Esporão’s 460ha of Alentejo vineyards, however, lies in the large central lake, which moderates the classically wide range of continental-Mediterranean temperatures that characterises the region and can make wine cultivation particularly difficult. This, twinned with the fact that some of their current vines are over 40 years old, is what makes their wines unique.

Despite the vineyard’s size, Esporão does not need casual labourers during the harvest: it has a team of around 100 people who have worked on the site for years, meaning they possess a loyalty and affection for the vineyards and always strive only to select the best grapes at harvest. The vineyards are farmed...
The boundaries of Herdade do Esporão, in the Alentejo region of Portugal, were established in the thirteenth century, and since then it has become increasingly famous for its wine and olive oil production.

Herdade do Esporão’s vineyard nursery houses an astonishing 194 grape varieties, most of which are indigenous Portuguese varieties, and 37 of which are in current production and have been selected because they best represent the Alentejo region. They work closely with educational and research institutions to catalogue and assess the rich heritage of Portugal's own grapes in order to preserve them for future generations. They are grown on schist-clay and granite soils derived from eruptive rock, and the vineyards’ location means they also benefit from many hours of sunshine each day.

The secret to Herdade do Esporão’s 460ha of Alentejo vineyards, however, lies in the large central lake, which moderates the classically wide range of continental-Mediterranean temperatures that characterises the region and can make wine cultivation particularly difficult. This, twinned with the fact that some of their current vines are over 40 years old, is what makes their wines unique.

Despite the vineyard’s size, Esporão does not need casual labourers during the harvest: it has a team of around 100 people who have worked on the site for years, meaning they possess a loyalty and affection for the vineyards and always strive only to select the best grapes at harvest. The vineyards are farmed sustainably and certified under the Integrated Production system, and they are also working towards certified organic status.

In 2008 they purchased the 160 hectare Quinta dos Murças in the Douro region with a view to making DOC wines. After all, long term head winemaker David Baverstock helped to establish first Quinta do Crasto then Quinta de la Rosa before heading south to Alentejo. 50ha are planted to vineyard, mostly old vines, unusually around 80% vertically planted.

Then in 2019 they acquired Quinta do Ameal in the Lima Valley to strengthen their wine portfolio to perhaps the three best known DOCs of Portugal: Vinho Verde, Douro, Alentejo.
The vineyards here have been farmed organically for years and there is a shared philosophy and commitment which makes this small but significant property a great investment for the future.

In 2020 Esporão was ranked 13th in The World's Most Admired Wine Brands by Drinks International Magazine. Deservedly so in our view.
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2017 vintage reviews

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