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The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary

Alentejo

Alentejo is Portugal's "New World," producing extroverted, ripe wines in comparatively modern styles. The region lies at the the far southern end of Portugal, inland and south from Lisbon, touching the Spanish border on the east. The climate is, as expected, quite hot and decidedly un-Atlantic. The scenery consists of large, undulating plains that experience far more continental climate conditions, and the wines produced here are indeed quite a far cry from the earthy, terroir-driven wines of much of the rest of the country. Referred to as the "bread basket" of Portugal, wheat is the most important crop here, with the poorer soils being reserved for olive trees, cork oaks and vineyards. Traditional Portuguese grape varieties dominate the region, but newcomers such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are beginning to gain footholds in popularity, often blended with the local varieties. Some white wines are made in the Alentejo, but it’s the reds that are forging the region’s reputation.