Posted by: tomciocco | February 24, 2011


The baked rust and olive green blanket of land that undulates south of the Tagus (Tejo in Portuguese) has long been, and still is the source for most of the cork found everywhere in the world. But alonside the cork oaks, there have also always been grape vines. Throughout most of the modern history of viticulture in Alentejo however, most of this farming had been  forcibly collectivized into co-operatives under Salazar. But unlike in many other regions of Portugal, even long after Salazar’s fall, much of Alentejan viticulture remained collectivized – the lay of the land, the need for irrigation, and several other factors make this region more suited than most to large scale production.

This wine was not made by a cooperative, however, but it is made from the classic trinity of Alentejo grape varieties: Aragones (the local name for Tempranillo), Trincadeira, and Castelao, and though it emanates from the Borba area – one of the 8 recognized sub-regions in the Alentejo – this producer chooses to label his wine simply “Alentejo” rather than “Alentejo-Borba” or “Alentejo subregiao Borba”. To each his own…

This one wound up chasing down a very traditional and varied Alentejano soup of chick peas, potatoes, spinach, chorizo, herbs and spices, and then my own version of orange, garlic, and dried hot pepper glazed prawns, with plain old white rice.

Visconde de Borba Alentejo 2008 

Just barely transparent deep garnet color. Evolving nose of cherry cordial, watermelon, beef stew, tobacco leaf, and violet-scented powder. The middle weight body is very well structured with medium-grain tannins, and mouth-watering acidity, that nicely frame crunchy, minerally red currant and prune plum fruit. Delicately jammy strawberry notes echo on the warm finish.



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