In 2016, the cooler climate in spring led to a longer period of vegetative growth and the harvest began approximately 10 days later than usual. The grape quality was excellent and, despite the heat throughout the harvest, ripening was balanced and homogenous.
According to Sandra Alves, winemaker at Esporão, “over the last decades, we have compounded our knowledge of our territories in Alentejo. We initiated the conversion to organic farming in 2008 and received certification in 2019. We now have a better understanding of our potential and maximise the uniqueness of the vineyards at Herdade do Esporão, Herdade dos Perdigões and the Lavradores vineyard in Portalegre, to produce the best wines. This knowledge has resulted in Private Selection Red through the blend of select plots in the different properties, along with separate vinification and ageing at the Lagares Winery, according to the profile and origin of each grape variety”.
The Aragonez (from the Canto do Zé Cruz vineyard, planted in 1980 at Herdade do Esporão at an altitude of 200m) and Touriga Franca (from the Rochedo vineyard, planted in 2005 at Herdade do Esporão at an altitude of 200m) grape varieties offer the structure and intensity that create the basis of this wine’s identity, while the Alicante Bouschet variety (from the Palmeiras vineyard, planted in 1996 at Herdade dos Perdigões at an altitude of 225m) lends texture through the ripe fruit and some jam. This batch is complemented by Alicante Bouschet from Portalegre (planted in 2003 at an altitude of 400m), which brings freshness, longevity and vitality to the wine.
Originating from the combination of soils with a sandy-loam texture at Herdade do Esporão, the deep clay soils at Herdade dos Perdigões, and sandy soils with a granite origin of the property in Portalegre, vinification is carried out according to the potential of each grape variety and origin. Aragonez initiated the fermentation in marble lagares with foot treading and finish it in concrete vats. Ageing in 5000 liters French oak barrels. Touriga Nacional, fermented in marble lagares with foot treading. Ageing in 500 liters French oak barrels, where the malolactic fermentation occurred. The Alicante Bouschet variety fermented separately in concrete vats, also followed by malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels.