Once, Portugal’s Alentejo was known more for producing cork than wine. The intensely hot, dry region, which covers a large part of southern Portugal, is dotted with the oak trees that supply cork for many of the world’s wines.
But Alentejo’s wines no longer take a back seat to the stoppers. In the past 30 years winemaking in Alentejo, as in much of Portugal, has been transformed and expanded. For Alentejo, this means winemaking where it had not been possible; modern irrigation and temperature control techniques allow the creation of fine wines in otherwise inhospitable territory.
Still, red wines predominate in Alentejo. Traditional indigenous grapes, often blended with Tempranillo or other international varieties, are used to make smooth wines with deep fruit flavors.