Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Pedro Ribeiro is the man behind the Espaço Rural wines. Though he is the head winemaker for another winery, he established Espaço Rural as a project of his own, to best express their own interpretation of what winemaking is and should be in the Alentejo and Lisboa regions where so many larger, more quantity-driven producers are located. Pedro moved to the Alentejo from another region of Portugal knowing that this was a land and region that offered the opportunity to make wines true to the historical traditions of the area.
The winemaker is happy to take a back seat and let the vines and land speak for themselves after years of love bringing them to their present state. Unlike many modern wineries in the area, the newer vines here are no longer irrigated...and the old vines...never have been. The low yields, careful pruning, and early harvest paired with slightly cooler microclimate in an otherwise severely hot region lead to some high impact, if unfamiliar wines.
"In Espaço Rural (Bojador) I made a selection of blocks that | believe express more the terroir of Vidigueira-Alentejo and Lisboa wine regions. The idea is to have grapes that show the minerality and freshness of our soils. For that we have totally organic procedures and the vinification is done with minimal intervention. It's always field blends, co-ferment and wild fermentation wines. We try to use not a lot of new oak barrels and we also use big oak vats in order to keep the freshness and authenticity of our fruit. The wines are fresh and vibrant. The idea is to have an extreme representation of our terroir that we love. We have a very small production of amphora wines, our tribute to this ancient vinification method so traditional from our wine region.” - Pedro Ribeiro
Responsible for a majority of Portugal’s fine wine production—and over half of the world’s cork production—Alentejo represents a major force in Portugal’s wine industry. This southern Portugese region is characterized by stretches of rolling plains and vineyards dotted with majestic cork oaks. Access to land enables the farmers of Alentejo to produce wines in great economies of scale, without compromising quality, compared to those regions to the north. The region of Alentejo indeed covers a third of the country.
Its classified (DOP) wines must come from one of eight subregions, where elevations are a bit higher, air cooler and less fertile soils are perfect for vines. The optimal regions are Portalegre, Borba, Redondo, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Granja-Amareleja, Vidigueira, Evora and Moura. Alentejo is not without the conveniences of modern winemaking as well. Irrigation supplements low rainfall and temperature control in the winery assures high quality wines.
The potential of the area has attracted many producers and its wine production continues to grow. Alentejo’s charming, fruit-forward wines have naturally led to local and global popularity.
White wines tend to be blends of Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Arinto. However, in growing proportions, the white grapes Verdelho, Alvarinho and Viognier have been enjoying success. But red varieties actually exceed whites in Alentejo. Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Castelão grapes blend well together and are responsible for most of the Alentejo reds.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.