New Esporão Reserva Wines: A Taste of History and Authenticity

For wine lovers who want a good backstory with their wine, look to Esporão. Herdade do Esporão is a historic estate in Portugal’s Alentejo wine region where traditional winemaking techniques are employed in modern winemaking facilities. And Esporão is fully committed to organic viticulture and sustainability. Today we are tasting two wines, which we received as tasting samples, that offer excellent quality for the price.

The Herdade do Esporão estate is comprised of 4522 acres located in Alentejo’s Reguengos de Monsaraz DOC sub-region. The estate’s boundaries have remained essentially unchanged since 1267. Three historic buildings remain on the estate: the military tower (built between 1457 and 1490), the Esporão Arch, and the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Chapel.

Biodiversity has been maintained on the estate with 1,091 acres of vineyards planted to approximately 37 grape varieties, not to mention the vineyard nursery that is home to 189 varieties being tested for adaptability to climate change. Other plantings include olive groves, orchards, and vegetable gardens. 

Organic certification of the vineyards, olive groves, orchards and vegetable gardens by Kiwa-Sativa was achieved in 2019 making Esporão one of the largest organic wineries in the world. Esporão is also helping several of their grower partners convert to organic viticulture. Surely Esporão is an excellent example of a large winery doing good things on a big scale.

Esporão has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability in Alentejo by earning its WASP sustainability certification. The Sustainability for Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Program (WASP) was initiated in 2013 and is the first regional sustainability program established in Portugal.

Photo of wine bottle label 2022 Esporão Reserva Vinho Branco, DOC Alentejo, Portugal
2022 Esporão Reserva Vinho Branco, DOC Alentejo, Portugal

2022 Esporão Reserva Vinho Branco, DOC Alentejo, Portugallight golden with generous aromas of stone fruit, honeydew melons and citrus. Flavors include ripe yellow peaches, melons and citrus with juicy acidity with a round mouthfeel. Plenty of fruit flavor, but not sweet. 13.5% abv. SRP $23

As is traditional in Alentejo (and Portugal) this wine is a blend of grape varieties. Antão Vaz, Arinto, Roupeiro are all sourced from estate vineyards. The wine was fermented 75% in stainless steel tanks and 25% in new American and French oak barrels, with aging for six months. A delicious and judicious use of oak. 

Photo of wine bottle label 2021 Esporão Reserva Vinho Tinto, DOC Alentejo, Portugal
2021 Esporão Reserva Vinho Tinto, DOC Alentejo, Portugal

2021 Esporão Reserva Vinho Tinto, DOC Alentejo, Portugalmedium ruby with aromas of dark berries, berry bramble, raspberries and hints of spices. Flavors include ripe blackberries, plums and dusty earth supported by fresh acidity and fine but grippy tannins in a just-medium body. 14% abv. SRP $23

The blend includes Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon all sourced from estate vineyards. Each variety was vinified separately, destemmed and crushed with temperature-controlled alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel vats, concrete tanks and small marble lagares. Pressing was followed by malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine aged for 12 months in new (20%) and old (80%) American and French oak barrels. After bottling, the wine aged  at least 6 months in the bottle.

Both wines are very aromatic, flavorful and balanced. Both are also certified organic by Kiwa-Sativa. And they represent excellent value for the money. You will likely be able to find them for less than the SRP listed above making them an even better buy. 

You should be able to find Esporão wines easily in the US. About 25 red, white rosé and port wines are exported to the US. 

Thanks to Creative Palate Communications for organizing our tasting of the new vintages of Esporão Reserva wines.


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