First things first: If you haven't tasted the delicious table wines David Baverstock has been making from Alentejo grapes for Esporao over the past 18 years, go out and buy some now. Esporao, like many Portuguese wineries, makes wines at various levels of price and corresponding complexities, and I was struck by the house consistency that Baverstock has achieved at all the levels. The simplest wines have some of the same appealing characteristics as the greatest. Beyond this, there is a consistency between vintages, although vintages definitely matter in the Alentejo.
Second: Mark your calendar for Spring 2011 when the first wines from Esporao-owned Quinta dos Murcas will start appearing in America of Douro table wines from Baverstock, an old hand at both Port and table wines from Portugal's north,
I just got back yesteday from visiting both estates on assignment to write five or so articles and had a great time. The food, particularly at the finer restaurants, was delicious, although we had a lovely lunch prepared by resident cook Dona Ana Maria of Murcas, including a fresh octopus with potatoes and broccoli (see photo). Through it all, there was not a single wine we tasted from the two estates that didn't show quality and that wasn't a very good food wine.
I'll be posting links to articles as they appear, but I hope you enjoyed this quick preview - including photos of the vines of Alentejo from a centuries-old tower, the harvest at Esporao, and a grape's-eye view of the Douro from atop one of Murcas' lofty vineyards.
Until next time,