It's Portugal's largest wine company that takes this award home...

Vinhos Sogrape Callabriga Reserva, Alentejo 2005

For Salvador
Guedes, President of Portugal’s largest wine company,Sogrape Vinhos, “until the
1980s, the story of Sogrape was similar to Mateus Rosé, which then represented
90% of sales.”

Since then, the company
has diversified into new regions (and indeed abroad, with projects in Chile,
Spain, Argentina and New Zealand), transforming itself into a global player renowned
for the quality of multi-regional brands like Callabriga as well as single
estate wines and the Mateus brand.

Reserva Alentejo 2005 was sourced exclusively from Herdade do Peso, which
Sogrape acquired in 1992. The estate,
which accounts for a sizeable 162ha of the company’s 828ha Portuguese vineyard holdings,
is located in the Vidigueira sub-region in southern Alentejo.

In the very hot, dry summer of 2005,
Sogrape’s considerable investment in a large dam and drip irrigation paid off
handsomely, not least since this wine mostly comprises Aragonez (Spain’s
Tempranillo) which, notoriously, drops its leaves during hydric stress. Winemaker António Graça recalls “since June,
every vineyard block had plant water stress measured on a weekly basis, and irrigation
was being used to avoid major photosynthetic arrest.”

“repeated berry sampling and tasting, coupled with lab data,” this Southern Red
Trophy Winner was picked from carefully selected blocks” because, Graça
explains, “showing the best balance between sugar and acids was crucial for the
quality in this wine.”

True to the Alentejo, this Aragonez-led blend with a
dash of Alicante Bouschet and Alfrocheiro Preto showed terrific intensity and
complexity of flavour, while its structure, remarkable freshness and finesse
won the hearts of the panel.

Written by Sarah Ahmed