The wines of Almeida Garrett, Beira Interior, Portugal

Visiting SABE—Sociedade Agricola de Beira

Jose Almeida Garrett 

Portugal is a diverse wine country. It’s not just about the fabulous Douro, Dão, Bairrada and Alentejo, the best known of the regions. There are also other winegrowing areas with a distinct identity, and still emerging from the shadows is a region called the Beira Interior, which runs up the eastern side of the country, bridging the Alentejo and Douro.

The vineyard, looking down to Covilhã

From Tortosendo at the foot of the Serra d’Estrela mountains in the Beira Interior, José Almeida Garrett runs the family winery, with vineyards in the Vale de Gardunha and the southern slopes of the Serra de Gardunha. His family are the descendants of the famous 19th century author, poet and freedom fighter Almeida Garrett, which is the brand used for the wines.

Granitic soils

One vineyard is near Tortosendo, with 12 hectares planted to Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional on granitic soils. Vine age is a respectable 28 years, and it’s at an altitude of 430–450 metres. Then there are 16 hectares near the river Zezere, at 320–360 metres, with sandy granitic soils. We visited a third vineyard, 16 hectares planted in 1998 at altitude (550–580 metres), with granitic soils, looking down to the town of Covilhã. 

José’s wines are well made and well priced: they deserve more recognition. As well as using local varieties, he’s also using some international varieties such as Chardonnay and Syrah. 


Almeida Garret Chardonnay 2008
13.5% alcohol. Full yellow colour. Quite rich, toasty and buttery with a nice fresh lemony finish. A full, rich Chardonnay with nice depth of fruit. 88/100

Almeida Garrett Chardonnay Reserva 2008
13.5% alcohol. Barrel-fermented for 14 months in a mix of old and new oak, using double lees (incorporating the lees from the regular Chardonnay). Deep yellow/gold colour. Very rich, toasty, nutty nose. Palate is sophisticated, textured and quite elegant, with smooth fruit, citrus notes and good acidity. A food-compatible style. 90/100

Entre Serras (called ‘Star Mountain’ in UK) Tinto 2008
A blend of Shiraz and Aragonês, with a bit of Trincadeira. Lovely vivid, focused dark fruits here: cherry, raspberry, blackberry. Lovely grip and fresh acidity. A delicious, impactful, fruit-driven wine. 88/100 (Available at Co-op in UK - around £6)

Entre Serras (Star Mountain) Tinto 2009 tank sample
Bright, vivid, pure dark fruits. Very fruity with a bit more suppleness than the 2008. Very stylish fruit-driven style. 86–89/100

Almeida Garrett Colheita Seleccionada Tinto 2008 (cask sample)
A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Trincadeira. Very dark coloured. Beautiful supple vibrant pure dark cherry and blackberry fruit dominates this wine. Vivid and expressive with a signature of vibrant, fresh fruit. Deliciously focused and pure. 89/100

Almeida Garrett Touriga Nacional 2007
Bit of spicy toasty oak on the nose with some roasted notes. The palate shows vibrant fruit with some spicy, phenolic notes adding rusticity. Some brett here? Not as pure as it could be. 85/100

Almeida Garrett Syrah 2007
Lovely vibrant, fresh spicy dark fruits here with some savoury structure. The palate is dense, spicy and tannic with firm savoury character. Quite tight and firm at the moment but with nice fruit. 88/100

Almeida Garrett Reserva 2007
Lovely balance here. Richly fruited but expressive with nice blackcurrant and berry fruits as well as some sophisticated, well-integrated oak. Very fruity but structured with good balance between the fruit and the more savoury, structural notes. 92/100

Almeida Garrett Espumante Bruto Natural 2007
The first vintage of this sparkling wine, which is based on Chardonnay. Lovely toasty nose with richly aromatic bready notes. Taut palate with a savoury, herbal finish. It’s very dry with assertive citrus fruit. Distinctive and food friendly, this has real personality. 88/100

Wines tasted 02/10  
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