My pick for 2014 is TEJO, a little known, to Americans, Portuguese wine region.
Who knew that the wines from the TEJO region, less than an hour and a half east of Lisbon, were so substantial wines? The wines from TEJO did not cross the radar for the majority of the ‘wine experts’ I talked to, prior to revealing my choice.
Yes, they knew of Tejo, but, they didn’t really know the wines.
I have converted.
Below are a dozen wine suggestions from wine educator (above), Candela Prol, my Tejo guru.
All of the wines that Candela suggests are available in the U.S. and retail for under $20.
Tejo, with its temperate southern Mediterranean climate, has 50,000 acres of vineyards, 2,800 hours of sunlight a year, less than 30 inches of rainfall a year and temperatures that average 60F.
Tejo has six major wine producing sub-regions.
And three distinct zones:
Ms. Prol and Tejo Wines * Fall In Love pamphlet (available at: www.cvrtejo.pt ) suggests that the main White grapes of Tejo include: International varieties, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc: Indigenous varieties are Fernao Pires, Arinto and Verdelho.
International Red grapes include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Local grape varieties are Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Castelao and Trincadeira.
The vines are bush trained and can be up to one hundred years old.
Over 20 million bottles are produced a year.
Vinification takes place in either stainless steel or oak barrels.
To achieve such a rating, white (42% of production) and rose (6%) wines must age a minimum of six months in the cask and six months in the bottle.
Red wines( 52%) must age a minimum of twelve months in the cask and twelve months in the bottle.
Great Britain, Germany and Sweden have discovered these wines while China is on the fast track to import the wines from Tejo.
Hopefully, America will wake up and ‘Discover the Wines from Tejo’ in 2014.
The region is Portugal’s second largest and is well respected. Vineyards date back to the 13th century. Tejo is in the middle of Portugal and is the heart of the winemaking country.
Tejo is in the middle of a major overhaul, which is reason enough why this region will shine in the near future.
The Tejo Regional Wine Commission is just beginning a campaign in America that will coincide with the overhaul of Tejo’s wines. The campaign will focus in on ‘brand awareness’ and education.
Isn’t it time to jump on the bandwagon in 2014?