A Region of Subtleties

A Region of Subtleties

This is the winegrowing region with the widest variety of soils: granite, crystalline limestone-derived, Mediterranean brown and red and schist. The area is distinguished by gentle plains and shallow valleys carved out by occasional streams, a Mediterranean climate with certain areas boasting a continental microclimate and the constant presence of corn fields, vineyards and olive groves.

Summers are hot and dry, normally with over 20 days above 35° C. The springs and autumns are mild with plenty of sunny days. Winters are kind. Average rainfall during the wettest months is below 80 mm with average temperatures above 10° C, although daily temperature variations can reach 20° C.

These characteristics have a profound effect on the Alentejo’s fauna, flora, landscape, architecture and people.

This Denomination of Controlled Origin (DOC) is made up of 8 sub-regions with a long tradition of wine production: Borba, Évora, Granja-Amareleja, Moura, Portalegre, Redondo, Reguengos and Vidigueira.

Of all the Alentejo’s sub-regions, Esporão chose Reguengos de Monsaraz because it ensured wines that were full-bodied but elegant and both big and seductive, thanks to a mix of very poor, stony soils and a harsh climate. This part of the region is where Alentejo wines are more balanced and appealing, as well as being bold and pleasing, with good ageing capacity.

Herdade do Esporão boasts almost 1,000 hectares of forest, much covered by montados (an agroforestry system) with many holm oaks and cork oaks, cistus and rosemary, meadows whose colours change according to the season, and riparian vegetation that ranges from ash and oleanders, as well as open areas of willows and reeds, along the Caridade stream and the western boundaries demarcated by the River Degebe – the two water lines that sustain the Herdade and support what it produces. There are also stone pine plantations that are currently being converted / restored to the mixed montado system.

These forestry ecosystems are the Herdade’s natural legacy and home to such iconic species as the black stork, hare and fox. The range of flora, which varies with the seasons, can be found in much of what Esporão does, like the scent of rosemary in the honey it produces, in the leaves, fruit and roots it uses in the restaurant menus, and even the wild orchids that appear at the end of winter, sprouting under the holm oaks of the montados and close to the streams.

At the heart of the Herdade we find 120 hectares of dam area. This water is stored and managed carefully using smart quality control and use systems, which attenuate the local climate and act as a haven for biodiversity, be it on the water, on the marshy banks or in the nooks covered with riparian vegetation.

Today, this ecosystem, which stems from the needs of industrial production, is a semi-natural sanctuary, where around 90% of the Alentejo’s birds have been seen, in addition to the permanency of ducks, grebes, moorhens, otters, among many other species.