Cabecas do Reguengo "Respiro Clarete" 2020
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Alentejo is Portugal's largest wine region, covering some 30% of the country. The area is mostly known for producing bulk wine, and if we're being totally honest, there has never been much of a cohesive style that binds the region together - considering the region is 27,272 square kilometers, it makes sense that there would be a great diversity in the wines produced there. I had never tasted any natural wines from Alentejo until recently, and the cream of the crop is clearly Cabecas do Reguengo. Located just 30 minutes from the Spanish border, Reguengo operates as an organic vineyard and pretty swanky hotel. I've looked at some pictures of the place, and it's made me want to buy a plane ticket and take a nice long vacation there. Anyway, the Reguengo wine are quite different from other Alentejo producers in that they are all lower in alcohol and favor finesse over power, a direct result of the high altitude these 100+ year old vineyards are planted at (some around 600 meters above sea level) and the slow, thoughtful approach to winemaking in the cellar.
Respiro, which means breath, is the wineries line of no sulfur bottlings. Like the Clarette wines from Spain, this is a field blend of 14 different red and white grapes fermented together to create a super light red. Fermented in concrete vats and aged in old barrels. Bight and fresh, light-bodied and supremely easy drinking. The nose is mouthwatering with tart raspberry and blood orange notes, the palate is lively, with cranberry, red pepper and a slightly smoky finish.
[Kirk Sutherland May 2022]