A few weeks before I attend the Wines of Portuguese master class I received two samples of Esporão Portuguese wines from Cornerstone Communications, LTD. Although it has taken me too long I share these wines with you I am thankful I opened them after the class because I now have a deeper understanding of Portuguese wines. Furthermore, because I received high quality materials in the Wines of Portuguese class presented by Full Circle Wine Solutions in partnership with Wines of Portugal I am able to offer you a fuller understanding of the grapes and regions of these two Esporão Portuguese wines.
The two wines I received were crafted in the Alentejo region, located in the southern region of Portugal.
- Main Varieties: Red – Aragonés, Trincadeira, Alicante, Bouschet, and International varieties; White – Antão Vaz, Roupeiro (Siria) and International varieties
- Region: vast and rural area of flat plains with occasional low hills (Serras of Portel, Ossa and São Mamede); large size properties: Herdades versus Quintas (usually smaller); other traditional cultures: cork and olives.
- Soil: Rich in clay with granite and schist
- Climate: strong continental influence; hot and dry summers; cold winters
- Most popular wines with the Portuguese: approx. 50% of domestic wine sales
- About half of the southern part of the country and 30% of Portugal’s total land mass
- Almost all red (very hot summer); historically known for ease of drink and generosity; DOP wines use only permitted grapes
- Alentejo is the epicenter of modernization
- Contains eight subzones: Moura, Granja-Amareleja, Évora, Vidigueira, Reguengos, Redondo, Borba and Portalegre
Esporão Monte Velho White 2014: This wine was crafted 40% Antao Vaz, 40% Roupeiro and 20% Perrum. It poured a translucent golden yellow in color and met the nose with fresh aromas of white stone fruit, orchard fruit, citrus, fresh cut grass, almonds and a touch of minerality. On the palate this clean and fresh wine delivered flavors of apples, pears, white peaches, marzipan, crushed stone, and a touch of honeysuckle. It had a creamy texture on the palate yet round acidity with a soft, dry finish. This wine was fruity yet firm and was well-structured. 13.5% alcohol. SRP $9.99, another Portuguese value, delivering well beyond its price.
I sought to pair this wine with a dish that would complement it well. I chose Jamie Oliver’s Chicken and Chorizo Paella. It was the first time I made paella, it was easy and delicious. I highly recommend this delicious recipe that was an across the board family favorite and an excellent pairing with the fresh, crisp wine that was an ideal pairing and a wonderful night of Portuguese food and wine. Furthermore, I would love to host a dinner party featuring this paella and Portuguese wines!
Esporão Monte Velho Red 2013: This wine was crafted of 40% Aragonez, 35% Trincadeiera, 20% Touriga Nacional and 5% Syrah. It poured a lively garnet into the glass and opened with aromas of red fruit, spice, green peppers, soft floral notes and tobacco. On the palate this wine delivered flavors of cherries, plums and raspberries with green peppers, spice notes and toasted walnuts. It offered round acidity with well integrated tannins in a medium body with a pleasing lingering finish. It was a nice balance of fruit with earthiness and was an exceptional food friendly wine. 13.5% alcohol. Outstanding value with an SRP of $9.99.
I paired this wine with a recipe I found on the Wines of Portugal web site. It is a French inspired Vietnamese recipe called Bo Luc Lac from Executive Chef Terrance Khuu from San Francisco’s Le Colonial restaurant. As odd as it may be to pair Portuguese wine with a French inspired Vietnamese dish it further illustrated the diversity and food friendliness of Portuguese wines. The recipe was pretty easy and though I am sure Chef Khuu’s is much better than mine it did turn out delicious. Furthermore the flavors of the marinade on the beef, spices in the sauce and crispness of the salad dressing married seamlessly with the Monte Velho Red blend.
From the Esporão web site:
Since its beginnings in 1973, Esporão has been owned by the Roquette family, first partially and then in its entirety from 1989 onwards.The first two decades of this project were a story of struggle, faith, and a vision so strong that it clearly left its mark on the modern history of Portuguese wine.
The family and generational nature of this project was decisive in the most difficult decisions. We believe that our family values, which extend to the Esporão project, have contributed to a culture of responsibility, hard work and excellence, which is reflected in everything we do, most noticeably in what we produce.
A bottle of wine can and should reflect the climate and land where it was made, the customs and knowledge of those who produce it and the imagination of those who drink it. Over the last 30 years, Esporão has made a major contribution to building the identity of the Alentejo as a top winegrowing region, whilst consolidating its culture.
“The Esporão project began in the Alentejo from an irrepressible desire to make the finest wines. This is the basis of everything we do and something we extend to other products and regions.
Everywhere, nature inspires us and helps us to improve. We respect and protect it, building a more promising future.
”To be a family company that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, capable of providing unique products and experiences that improve people’s lives.”
My Song Selection: Portugal is a country of great tradition yet the winemaking community is Portugal is utilizing fresh, new winemaking techniques creating a marriage of tradition with modernity. Therefore, the song I have chosen to pair with these two wines not only represents the old meeting the new but its flow and style represents the fresh style and lively flavors of these delicious wines. So please enjoy Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony techno remix and buy these two Esporão Monte Velho wines.
Get your own bottles of Esporão Monte Velho 2014 white blend and 2013 red blend and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!