Rural and rustic yet with style and substance, the Alentejo's warm and generous reds are much like its people, says Sarah Ahmed. Read her Alentejo travel guide here.
My perfect day in Alentejo
L’and Vineyards’ appeal lies in the tiny winery shoe-horned into this design- led spa hotel’s central courtyard (www.l-andvineyards.com). With winemaker Patricia Baptista to hand, the chance to engage with wine goes beyond tutored tastings and into the vineyards and winery.
Book L’and’s wine course with tasting menu. Chef Michel Laffan’s training at leading Michelin-starred kitchens shines through in his elegant twists on Alentejo’s cuisine.
Fifteen minutes away, Pêra-Manca, one of Portugal’s most prestigious wines, matures in Cartuxa’s 18th-century wine cellar-cum-visitor centre (cartuxa.pt). Tours offer a range of tasting options and cover the winemaking process from past to present. You cannot taste Pêra-Manca, but it is sold at the shop (€100). Skirt Evora’s medieval walls and, 40 minutes east in Reguengos de Monsaraz, culture vultures and wine geeks alike will enjoy Herdade do Esporão (esporao.com). The archaeological museum displays prehistoric finds from Perdigões Archaeological Complex, whose ongoing excavations you can visit. A field showcases 188 different grape varieties, including rare native grapes, such as Amor-não-me- deixes (Love-don’t-leave-me). Equally strong in whites as reds, Esporão’s modern wines (and olive oils) are among the region’s best.
Evening and overnight
From Esporão, it is 75 minutes to Herdade da Malhadinha Nova (see the following page for where to stay, shop, eat and relax). Unwind in the spa before dining from the impeccably sourced seasonal menu. Open until late, the in-house bar serves excellent estate wines. Themed stays cover a wide range of activities, including harvesting.