Alentejo

The warm, dry Alentejo region in the south east is probably the country's most promising source of full-bodied, deep-coloured, accessible table wine, sold mainly as IGP Alentejano.

Australian David Baverstock, who tired of making nothing but port in the Douro, is exporting increasingly interesting wines from the large Esporão property. As an Australian, it was natural he should experiment with varietal versions of the Alentejo’s grapes: Tempranillo here known as Aragonês, Trincadeira Preta and Periquita as well as the indigenous pale-skinned grape Roupeiro which usefully retains its acidity. Touriga Nacional has of course been imported along with some Cabernet and Syrah, although this last was for long an unofficial import that had to be labelled Incógnito by its prime exponents Cortes de Cima. Co-operatives such as Borba, Granja, Redondo, Reguengos de Monsaraz and Vidigueira are some of Portugal's most energetic. But there are many exciting individual estates such as Mouchão and Quinta do Carmo (part-owned by the Rothschilds of Château Lafite), Quinta do Centro and special bottlings such as Peter Bright's Tinta da Anfora. Prices here are still reasonable and this is certainly one of the most promising wine regions in the world. Even whites can be interesting. João Portugal Ramos, who consults throughout southern Portugal, has established Marquês de Borba as a successful and increasingly delicious brand from Alentejo. 

In a nutshell

Dynamic and good value.