Situated in the south of the Alentejo, in the Vidígueira sub-region, the Herdade do Peso estate covers 457 hectares. On the estate are 160 hectares of vineyard planted on gently rolling hills, a new eco-friendly winery, an on-site reservoir and remarkable olive groves which date back to Roman times.

Despite its southerly location, Vidígueira is one of the cooler Alentejo sub-regions and benefits from cool Atlantic air funnelled inland by a gap in the coastal hills. The limestone soils of the estate also lend elegance to the wines. The vineyards are planted predominantly to red varieties, with just eight hectares planted to white varieties. A lot of work has gone into mapping the 12 different soil types on the estate and each variety is matched to its ideal plot.

The talented Luís Cabral de Almeida, who has a post-graduate degree from Australia’s Charles Sturt University and worked for many years in the Finca Flichman winery in Mendoza, leads the winemaking team. Luís is very involved in the management of the Herdade do Peso vineyards and believes that “the oenologist’s primary role is to interpret nature”. The Herdade do Peso wines reflect the unique sense of place of Vidígueira, they are exuberant, ripe and generous, yet kept in balance by a refreshing acidity.

‘Sossego’ translates as ‘tranquility’ and evokes the peaceful Alentejo countryside. The white is a blend of Antão Vaz, Arinto and Roupeiro. Unoaked, it is fresh and vibrant with bright citrus and stone fruit aromas. The rosé blends Aragonez (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira, harvested early to retain a refreshing acidity. The red combines Aragonez with Syrah and Touriga Nacional. Aged for six months in used French oak barrels, it marries ripe and juicy red and black fruit flavours with a subtle spiciness.

‘Trinca Bolotas’ meaning ‘acorn muncher’ and is a nod to the acorn-eating Iberian black pigs native to the Alentejo region. An unoaked blend of Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet and Aragonez, it is bursting with ripe and juicy blackberry, black cherry and plum flavours.

The Herdade do Peso Reserva is a blend of hand-selected Alicante Bouschet, Petit Verdot and Syrah berries. Aged for 12 months in a combination of new and first use French oak, the wine is brimming with intense aromas of juicy blackberries and raspberries combined with spicy notes of pepper and tobacco.

New to the range are two reds: the ‘Revelado’ and the ‘Parcelas’. The ‘Revelado’ blends Alicante Bouschet with Touriga Nacional and Syrah. Aged for 12 months in French oak barriques, 10% of which were new, it boasts delicious spiced berry flavours, a subtle earthiness and velvety tannins. The ‘Parcelas’ is the first single-varietal Alicante Bouchet produced by the estate. The fruit for the 2018 was all sourced from the clay-limestone plot 21 in the ‘Vinha do Topo’ vineyard, which Luís deemed to be the best performing plot of the vintage. The grapes were destemmed and underwent an individual berry selection on the sorting table. 30% of the stalks were added to the ferment to add structure and complexity and the wine was aged for 12 months in 3,000-litre French oak ‘tonéis’, 50% of which were new. It is a wine of great power, complexity, structure and length, with the characteristic dark fruit and earthy characteristics of Alicante Bouschet.

Despite its southerly location, Vidígueira is one of the cooler Alentejo sub-regions and benefits from cool Atlantic air funnelled inland from the coast by a gap in the surrounding mountains. The vineyards are planted on rolling hills and 12 different soil types have been identified with a predominance of limestone, which controls vine vigour and lends elegance to the wines. Precision viticulture is carried out on the estate and each grape variety has been matched to its ideal plot. All of the Herdade do Peso vineyards are sustainably farmed and the on-site reservoir provides much-needed water to irrigate the vineyards during the warm Alentejo summers.

Luís Cabral de Almeida describes 2021 as “bad for the beach, but really great for the grapes”. Winter rains replenished water reserves in the soil and a warm and dry spring provided perfect conditions for flowering and fruit set. The start of the summer was much cooler than usual, daytime temperatures rarely exceeded 35°C, and cool nights allowed a slow and steady ripening of the grapes. A heatwave at the beginning of August, with temperatures up to 43°C caused the vines to shut down temporarily and brought ripening to a standstill, but this recommenced when temperatures dropped mid-month. The harvest on Herdade do Peso began with the white grape varieties on 11th August and finished on the 23rd September with dry weather throughout. Luís was delighted with the quality of the 2021 wines which have “remarkable acidity and balance.”

Upon arrival at the winery the grapes were put in the cool room to lower their temperature before pressing and preserve maximum aromatics. The grapes were then destemmed and very gently pressed. The juice was left to settle for 24 hours and was then racked into stainless steel tanks, where it underwent a cool fermentation at 16ºC for 18 days. The wine is unoaked and was kept in stainless steel for around three months before it was fined, filtered, cold stabilised and then bottled.

Vibrant lemon in colour, this wine is bursting with fragrant aromas of ripe citrus, with subtle tropical notes of pineapple and mango. On the palate a lively acidity carries the bright fruit flavours onto the crisp and refreshing finish.

Herdade do Peso “Sossego” Branco