2011 Herdade do Esporão Reserva Tinto Alentejo, Portugal

This unique blend showcases the broad styles of non-fortified red wines from Portugal that compete for national allegiance with the pedigreed wines from the Douro. The wines from southern Portugal can certainly hold their own with Douro wines, if this example is any indication of the viniferous ability of Alentejo winemakers.

It should also be mentioned this particular Alentejo winery Herdade do Esporao dates back to 1267 so 748 harvests later they should know how to make good wine by now.  Light on its feet but full-bodied and well-structured, the Esporao captivates with its fruit forward flavors.  Balanced with snappy acidity in a soft, pleasurable, easy drinking wine, most wine enthusiasts could not, or would not, identify this as a Portuguese wine.  Aragonez, Trincaderia, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Alicante Boushet are the grapes blended for this unique and rare bottling. An aroma of juicy red fruit, (so ripe it’s falling off the vine) assaults your olfactory receptors; another swirl of the glass reveals baking spices and vanilla to complete the bouquet.

The flavors exhibit sweet black fruit and savory herbs creating a balanced complex wine with good density and structure. The long seductively pleasurable finish holds your attention while enticing you into the next sip. I would recommend pairing this wine with Cabrito Assado no Forno com Esparregado e Hortelã (oven roasted kid with spinach purée and mint), a classically prepared Alentejo regional dish.

Excellent (90) | $45 | 14.5% ABV


About the Author:

Marc has held almost every position in the food & wine industry and is committed to Celebrating Hospitality with Pride. In addition to being the co-founder and editor-at-large for Enobytes, Marc is a wine blogger contributor to OregonLive.com (Wine Bytes) and writes the Wine Knowledge column in the print magazine About Face. The Contra Costa County Times, San Jose Mercury News, Tacoma Times Tribune and Washington Post have either interviewed or quoted Marc on his viniferous and culinary opinions. Marc has also appeared on Portland's "Vine Time" on News Radio 750 KXL and on California's Central Coast "From the Growing of the Grape to the Glass" on KUHL-AM 1410. He is also the author of A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy. While continuing to tenaciously search for what he may finally proclaim as his favorite wine Marc is relentless in his quest for the ultimate food and wine experience.

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