Contributed by feature reporter Jens Hoffmann.
There is something about the Alentejo (nick-named “California of Europe”).
Modern wine hotels co-exist with ancient farmhouses, imposing modern architecture with century old barns, and peasants cooking with gourmet restaurants.
The landscape mingles with the vines, cork trees and cereal crops – an ever-changing canvas of colour, the colour of straw at the end of spring. Beautiful.
We visited many wineries in a few days. Although certain wines stand out because they agree with my personal taste, all of them strike me as being handcrafted and heartfelt. I see no need for the Portuguese to go international, considering their vast selection of indigenous grapes. Alentejo seems to handle the grape best in the country, the grapes are often blended with the queen Touriga Nacional, it is all fantastic.
Toasted oak, lots of spices, the gentle way, and dark ripe berries. Ripe tannins yet present.Long, mouth-watering finish. I love them.
Gastronomically speaking, Alentejo is the richest region of Portugal.
Proof of it is the recent classification by Unesco of the Mediterranean Diet as Immaterial World Heritage. In this experience through the gastronomy world, they put together the best of the regional cuisine with the best wine selection. And the result is an irresistible tasting of flavors! The largest region in Portugal, the Alentejo, has tradiquality of its produce, and excellence of its wines, place it firmly on the foodie map.
Cuba, I am coming.
The views are spectacular, enhanced by the late afternoon light, and the town’s ancient stones glow amber. There’s not so many people around like in my hometown Berlin.
The Alentejo is definitely a place for peace and quiet.
Where to check in: he Mar de Ar Aqueduto Hotel:
As a person who spends a considerable amount of time away from home I am always on the lookout for shortcuts that will make travelling more pleasant. I like to travel, love boutique style easy stays more and more.
The 5star Mar de Ar and Spa in Evora is the perfect place for me.
A great hotel, known for its style and excellent food and relaxation.
It’s a excellent hotel in short distance on foot to the city center. The rooms are spacious enough, even for couples with kids. The staff is kind, helpful and the organic bio breakfast is just fantastic. Great! The perfect hideaway in Évora.
I enjoyed all the different wine tastings with Herdade de Mouchao, Quinta do Mouro, Fundacao Eugenio de Almeida, Adega Jouse de Sousa, Vidigueira Wine Lands producers eg.
Finally we had a lovely dinner with Herdade Paco do Conde.
The business group Paço do Conde, which consists of several different companies belonging to only three partners – José, Luísa and Miguel Castelo Branco – currently explores 4.000 hectares of agricultural area in the South Alentejo of which 2.700 hectares of the total area. Awine producer of the South Alentejo with the brands Herdade Paço do Conde and Herdade das Albernoas.
Normally I see no need for the Portuguese to go international, considering their vast selection of indigenous grapes. Alentejo seems to handle the grape best in the country and as in the case of Paco do Conde it is all about joy.
Planting began in 1995, after choosing areas with right soil, exposure to the sun and vine variety. Our 150 Ha of vineyards, south- facing and set on sand-rich schist loam, are devided into gently-sloping areas. Our red wine grape varieties are Aragonez, Trincadeira, Castelão, Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante Bouschet. Our white varieties are Antão Vaz, Arinto, Verdelho and Viognier. The whole area is drip-watered, enabling perfect balance in the maturing of the grapes during the long, hot, dry summers.
The harvest is done at night so that the grapes are picked at their best, at a temperature considerably lower compared to daytime, when they reach 35 to 40 ºC. The harvest, almost exclusively mechanical, allows to rapidly pick the grapes at their optimum, as indicated by maturation control analyzes.
Allentejo – is a big puzzle. I will return and try to finish it.