The Alto Alentejo is a high-quality wine-producing region two hours’ drive inland from Lisbon where vineyards date back to Roman times. The landscape is mainly flat with some hills and is characterised by distinctly Mediterranean edaphoclimatic conditions, though some areas have a continental microclimate. Its soils are notable for their diversity, ranging from the granitic soils of Portalegre and the calcareous and crystalline soils of Borba to the brown and red soils of Évora, Granja/Amareleja and Moura and the slate soils of Redondo, Reguengos and Vidigueira.
The Terra d’Alter vineyards are structured according to the new world approach, designed with the assistance of the University of Fresno, California. The vines are planted using modern training and irrigation techniques, facilitating treatment and ensuring quality. They cover extensive plains and gentle hills, always providing intense exposure to sunlight which assists the grapes’ development, maturation and quality.
Many indigenous varieties are grown plus international varieties such as Viognier. Peter Bright is the oenologist. Peter is the original ‘flying winemaker’, a dynamic and enterprising Australian who has lived in Portugal since 1982, his motto is “experiment, but don’t mix styles”.
Encruzado is indigenous to the Dão region, in northern central Portugal. It is planted virtually nowhere else in the country and, unlike its celebrated red stablemate Touriga Naçional, it doesn’t appear to have made its way anywhere else in the world either.