I’ve spent the day in the Tejo region of Portugal. I left my hotel at 0745 and arrived back past 11 pm. During that time I visited six producers, had lunch, and had dinner, so there was no free time and I have only enough energy left for a quick blog post. With some pictures.
The headline? This is a region that was until recently a source of inexpensive table wines, with Lisbon – a strong market – very close. The yields that can be achieved on some of the alluvial terroirs here are quite heroic, and decent whites can be made at 20 tons/hectare. But of late, Tejo has decided it wants to make better wines. And it can, without dropping yields all that much, which means that it can make good wines at good prices.
Freshness is the key. This is a region that delivers lovely natural acidity. Zippy whites are its strength, and focused, bright reds, too. But too often the enologists like to try to trick the reds up, by using oak (often chips and staves) and other products. This is a shame: these interventions often get in the way of the lovely vivid fruit.
I saw enough potential in two other styles of wines that led me to believe they have a strong future in the region: sparkling and rosé. Good Prosecco-like fizz can be made here at competitive price points, because the grapes often achieve ripeness at 11% alcohol and high natural acidity. And it’s also a region that can make lovely pure, fresh rosé. Producers here are just beginning to make these styles of wines, but given the growth in both categories, it makes sense to focus more on them.
I’ll be writing more later. Suffice to say that I made some nice discoveries, and there’s good potential for Tejo wines in the marketplace.