A winemaker who uses unfamiliar grapes to make unfamiliar wines in an unfamiliar region, Sandra Alves is producing tastes considered not only new but intriguing and sensual as well. Still, the young white-wine winemaker at the huge and complex Herdade do Esporão winery in Portugal’s Alentejo region says, “I try to keep things as simple as possible.”
Alves grew up virtually in her family’s vineyard near Portugal’s famed Douro Valley and knew from an early age she wanted to be a winemaker. After receiving her degrees — including an M.B.A. in viticulture, oenology and marketing — she worked in various wineries before becoming the winemaker responsible for the white wines of Esporão.
Alentejo, the setting of the Esporão winery, is a large, hot, dry, remote region about 110 miles east of Lisbon. While the Esporão estate dates back more than 700 years, its history as a winery began in 1973 when the property was purchased and started its evolution into winemaking. It bottled its first wines in 1985. Today, with more than 1,200 acres devoted to vineyards, Esporão is the largest and best-known winery in Alentejo.
Grapes indigenous to Portugal are the base of Alves’ wines. To make Esporão’s Monte Velho 2011 ($10), she blended Roupeiro, Antão Vaz and Perrum to produce a well-balanced wine that is fresh and intensely fruity with remarkable acidity for a hot-climate wine.
Esporão Private Selection 2011 ($25), a blend of Antão Vaz, Arinto and Semillon grapes — the last a French grape and the only non-native Portuguese one in the mix — balances its aroma of ripe fruits with a firm acidity, again wonderfully maintained despite the hot climate.
Most impressive is Esporão Reserva White 2011 ($20), a combination of Arinto, Antão Vaz and Roupeiro that makes a full-bodied wine offering rich fruit flavors, especially citris fruits. There are hints of its time in oak, and it has a delicious lingering finish.
And finally, a wine made 100 percent of one grape with a reasonably familiar name. Esporão’s Verdelho 2011 ($13), produced totally from Verdelho, is round-textured, refreshing and abundant in melon and tropical fruit flavors.
All ideal wines to enjoy on a balmy July day.
Read This Next
2013 Airline Of The Year And Hotel Of The Year
2013 / December 2013Dec 5, 2013
All Reads on This Topic
Read Them All
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Diego Rivera’s America Presents the Most In-Depth Look at Artist’s Work in More than 20 Years
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, located in Bentonville, Arkansas, presents Diego Rivera’s America, the first major exhibition focused solely on the Mexican artist in more than 20 years, on view until July 31. Crystal Bridges is the second and final stop for the exhibition, the only remaining opportunity for visitors to experience Rivera's expansive vision of America.
Fill Your Heart with Ireland
Whether it's the people, the craic (fun) or the coasts, travelers always find something to love about the island of Ireland. What fills your heart?
San Antonio, Texas, Preserves Architectural Beauty for Future Generations
In San Antonio, Texas, old buildings are seldom destroyed. When they fall into disrepair, they are instead repurposed and restored to maintain the city’s history and traditions for future generations to appreciate. Whether it’s a former brewery or bank transforming into a chic hotel or a candy factory evolving into stylish lofts, this Texas city embraces both history and sustainability.
Here’s How to Arrive in Style to the World’s Most Unforgettable Hotels
Make a grand entrance to these equally grand hotels:
Why Buy Travel Insurance for U.S. Destinations?
If you’re traveling stateside, travel insurance is a must.
SponsoredJun 1, 2023
Protected: MORE TO TRAVEL
There’s more to travel than just getting there.
Park Hyatt Tokyo Prepares for Its New Look
London Concours Displays Golden Age Coupes
Fill Your Heart with Ireland
DailyMay 31, 2023
Pick These Resorts and Destinations for a Day of Self Care on Global Wellness Day
Celebrate Global Wellness Day on June 10 with a visit to one of these resorts or destinations.
Share Your Travel Preferences with Global Traveler in a Short Survey & Win
Learning more about our readers’ travel habits and preferences ensures Global Traveler delivers the content you desire. As the travel industry has adapted and changed over the last few years, it’s more important than ever to connect. To best meet your short- and long-term travel content needs, please help us!
eFlyer ReviewsMay 31, 2023
Homer and Janet by Homer Review
The Marais District, covering swaths of Paris’ 3rd and 4th arrondissments, has a distinctively gritty glamour that reveals it to be one of the city’s great incubators for new French food, fashion and lifestyle trends. It is here Moïse Sfez took on the challenge of creating street food establishments Homer in 2017 and Janet by Homer in 2022, doing it in such a way they both transcend the novelty of being regional American comfort food offered at stylized lunch counters matching up with New England lobster shacks and New York delis. Overwhelming local response and Sfez winning the 2018 Lobster Roll World’s Championship title in Portland, Maine, solidified him as a Paris restaurateur and one of France’s hottest culinary stars.