Produced by Esporão since the 1990s, the monocastes Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional and Aragonez reflect the identity of the different grape varieties in their original vineyards, resulting from detailed work in the vineyard and winery. The new monocaste crops have already been launched (pictured), at the same time as the white and red Private Collection. Wines that continue to convince.
Sandra Alves, the director of oenology at Esporão, knows well that she has in her hands the enormous responsibility of the continuous work of the legacy of quality of the one who is one of the reference producers at the national level. A role that fits her like a glove, were she not a huge professional, who knows how the palm of his hands that land, those vineyards and those grapes, always evidenced through wines that respect nature as much as possible. The classics of Esporão continue to convince, since their history has never been neglected, on the contrary, investments in the vineyard and winery have always been a constant, over the years.
The new monocastes waited a few years in the cellars of the Herdade do Esporão, now revealing their fullness "Time and accumulated experience have brought us knowledge and confidence to bet on what we believe make them unique – the long stage time and their ability to guard. These wines promise to remain at this level of quality for many more years", says Sandra Alves.
The Esporão Alicante Bouschet 2015 is intense but softened by age, but nevertheless reveals lush balsamic aromas, as is customary in this variety. Alicante Bouschet is a dintureira grape variety of French origin, full-bodied, concentrated and with a huge aging potential. And in this wine, it is revealed through 3 distinct origins, in a year especially conducive to the good performance of this variety. The reguengos de Monsaraz sub-region contributed with the intensity, texture and concentration and the portalegre sub-region promoted its vitality. Harvested manually, the grapes were vinified in concrete vats with temperature control, 30% of the lot aged in 5000L French oak balseiros and the remaining 70% in 500L barrels. The last stage in its winemaking was the six-year internship in the basement.
The Esporão Esporão Touriga Nacional 2015, on the other hand, is an intense, balanced wine with good evolving capacity. Originated in one of the oldest vineyards of this variety in alentejo, the Badeco vineyard (with more than 30 years in Herdade do Esporão) the grapes were harvested manually, vinified in marble lagares, with foot steps, followed by a malolactic fermentation in concrete vats, with temperature control. In the fruity and intense aroma, with some notes of coffee and toast from the wood where he aged, a great intensity, balance and persistence still emerges on the palate.
The last wine in the monocaste collection, Esporão Aragonez 2016 is a wine with great aromatic elegance, concentrated and with an excellent capacity for evolution. Vinified in adega dos Lagares, with fermentation in marble lagares, with foot steps, a malolactic fermentation was followed in concrete vats, with temperature control. This Aragonez is intense, structured and authentically reflects the identity of the grape variety in its original vineyard, the Corner of Zé Cruz, one of the oldest in the Herdade do Esporão. To reinforce his guarding potential, like the other monocastes, he aged in 5000L french oak balseiros, with five years of aging in bottle.
In the White Private Selection 2020 and Red 2016, here too we find the same safe port: quality classic wines that never disappoint, always revealing a growing quality. White was born in 2001 in order to challenge the classic profile of the great alentejo wines. For this purpose, the Semillon variety was used, fermented and matured in new French oak barrels, in order to optimize its potential. The maturity of the vineyard (20 years) combined with the careful selection of suppliers of barrels has been reinforcing the solid, rich and complex registration of this wine. The grapes arrive at the cellar during the morning, when the temperature is lower, and are placed in the pneumatic press. The pressing cycles are long with low pressures, which allow careful extractions for a rich must. Decanting is shorter than usual, which helps maintain the complexity of the medium. Fermentation takes place in new barrels of 550 liters of French oak, in a basement with controlled temperature at 18ºC. On the fermentation lees, accompanied by batonnage, to provide the integration between wood and wine increasing its creaminess and depth. After filling, it remained 6 months in a bottle, during which it had a controlled maturation that promoted the characteristic complexity of this wine. In the aroma reveals white pulp and citrus notes, with discrete notes of the toast of the barricade, and some spice. On the palate it is elegant but with good presence and persistent.
The red, first launched in 1987 under the name Garrafeira, was initially produced from the best barrels of Esporão Reserva. Today, it results from the combination of unique plots of the territories where the producer has vineyards in alentejo. A wine that demonstrates the diversity and richness of Esporão. Prepared with Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Touriga Franca, each plot was vinified and interned separately according to the potential of the profile of each variety and its origin.
Aragonez started alcoholic fermentation in marble lagares with foot steps and ended in concrete vats where malolactic fermentation also carried out. Internship in French oak balseiros of 5000 liters. Touriga Franca fermented in marble lagares with foot step and aged in barrels of 500 liters of French oak, where it also made the malolactic fermentation followed by stage. Both portions of the Alicante Bouchet variety fermented separately in concrete vats and carried out malolactic fermentation in new 500-liter French oak barrels, where they remained in stage. He spent 18 months in barrels/balseiros followed by 2 years in bottle. In the aroma is complex, revealing ripe black fruit, notes of caca and spice. On the palate it has silky texture, it is dense and firm, with the structure of the tannin to give intensity and persistence.
Special wines, special restaurant
Approves of these wines took place in a room next to the restaurant of Esporão, followed by lunch in the already famous space headed by Carlos Teixeira. In addition to the Michelin star, the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2022 awarded the Restaurant of Herdade do Esporão a Michelin Green star, a recognition made to restaurants with sustainable practices. The Michelin Green star highlights the restaurant's work with local suppliers, its zero waste practices and the disposal of plastic and other non-recyclable materials.
In addition to the wines, which can be tasted in the restaurant (or bought in the wine tourism shop of Esporão) the restaurant of Herdade do Esporão uses in its menus products of an extensive vegetable garden area, own animal production, as well as a protected forest area, from where they collect wild products. Composting, the reduction in the use of plastics and paper and the kitchen aimed at zero waste are other practices and commitments that the restaurant assumes.
At the age of 14, Carlos Teixeira began his cooking career entering the Lisbon School of Hospitality and Tourism, during which he did two internships. After finishing the course he entered the Degree of Food Production in Catering at ESHTE, where he had the opportunity to intern with Henrique Mouro, at the Signature Restaurant and, last year, at the Claris Hotel (5 stars) in Barcelona. After graduating, he began working at the Literary Guild and later on the Silk Road in Lisbon. In 2014 he moved to London where he worked for a year and interned at the Clove Club (1 Michelin star). Back in Portugal he comes to work for the Restaurant Herdade do Esporão, where he spent 2 years as Sous-chef and in 2018 is invited to take the leadership of the kitchen. In 2019 Carlos interned at Nolla in Finland, a world reference in zero waste, and the following year interned at Blue Hill, a farm to table restaurant in Stone Barns, recognized worldwide for its eco-friendly and low-waste practices and two Michelin stars.