Region to believe: Portalegre

RESTORING REPUTATION

Indeed, the Symingtons are not the first producers from another region to invest in Portalegre. In 1998, top sparkling wine producer Caves da Murganheira acquired Tapada do Chaves, and, with an eye for freshness, seems set on restoring its reputation.

In 2001, Tejo’s João M Barbosa planted a new vineyard for his Portalegre brand, Lapa dos Gaivoes. Last year, leading liqueur producer Licor Beirão formed Adega de Portalegre Winery to take on Adega Co-operativa de Portalegre’s winery and brands.

But the arrival of the Symingtons is a huge coup, and, according to Mateus, a source of “great satisfaction”. According to Afonso, having “one of the world’s most prestigious wine families as neighbours, quality and the region’s status will rise, as well as the land, wine and grape value.” How things have come full circle.

As Locke observes: “Early on, producers just didn’t realise what they had, and, while other countries and regions were making a noise about their old vines and unique grape varieties and terroirs, Portugal was shy to shout about its own.”

Even Reguinga admits to having initially given away now-precious white grapes to workers “because I tasted individual grapes from field-blend vineyards and could not see their potential”. Thanks to the buzz he and other artisans have since created around Portalegre DOC, there is now little doubt about the quality and sheer force of character of its wines.

Indeed, “convinced that my family’s decision to invest is the right one”, Paul Symington observes, “excellent wines from specific terroirs is what succeeds”.

One Response to “Region to believe: Portalegre”

  1. Rowan Bosworth-Davies says:

    Our Friends, the Fino family have been making wonderful wines at their traditional winery, Monte da Penha in Portalegre, for many years. Francisco and his daughter, Rita, are brilliant examples of winemakers using traditional methods and grapes, makimg wines of great freshness and character, but with a inherent backbone of traditional viification methods.

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