Sunday, December 29, 2013

"TEJO" Is My "WINE TREND", "Cutting Edge" Prediction for 2014 by Philip S. Kampe

Each year, around this time of year, I predict a wine region that will EXPLODE in the upcoming year.
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.
Recently I attended a seminar on the Wines from Tejo, led by Tejo wine authority, Candela Prol, and learned through sampling examples that these wines were both incredible on the palate and affordable at the wine merchant.
To me, that is a winning combination.
Until recently, I would advise friends who knew little about wine and wanted great value to try wines from many regions of the world. The wines from Tejo never came up in the conversation or in an article of mine.
Well, that is not the case now.
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.
1)      Vale de Lobos DOC di Tejo 2011 (white)
2)      Casal de Conde—DOP Tejo Alvarinho 2012  (white)
3)      Fisherman Regional Tejo 2011
4)      Falcoaria Classico 2011
5)      Marquesa de Alorna 2009
6)      Cabeca de Toiro 2010
7)      Fiuza Ikon 2011
8)      Casa Cadaval Trincadeira Vinhas Velhas 2010
9)      Bridao Touriga Nacional 2009
10)  Quinta do Alqueve 2 Worlds 2010
11)  Terra Silvesrew Reserva DOC do tejo 2010
12)  Forma de Arte Reserva V. Regional Tejo 2009

Tejo is named after the ‘Rio Tejo’, the river that divides the region between the north and south. The Tejo river flows into the Atlantic Ocean after it passes near and through the Tejo towns of Santarem, Almeirim and Chamusca.
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.
1)      Tomar
2)      Santarem’
3)      Chamusca
4)      Cartaxo
5)      Almeirim
6)      Coruche

And three distinct zones:
1)      Bairro: north of the Tejo river, hilly, limestone, schist and clay
2)      Leziria: runs along the Tejo river, alluvial, fertile soils
3)      Charneca: south of the Tejo river, infertile sandy soils, warm and dry

The ‘Wines from Tejo’ are exciting because there are many blends with both international grapes and indigenous grapes.  Many of these blends are new to me.

Ms. Prol and Tejo Wines * Fall In Love pamphlet (available at: ) 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.
Reserva wines can be classified DOC, while Garrafeira wines have distinctive vintage characteristics and are classified as DOC or VR.
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.
The end result from sampling the wines from Tejo has led me to believe that these wines will be the next ‘Go To’ wines for the wine industry in America.
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 the only land-locked region in Portugal, but, due to the Tejo river, it is one of the most fertile regions in Portugal.
Historically, large producers dominated, but, recently, modernization and state-of-the-art winemaking facilities have transformed the region to world-class standards. Vines have been replanted and experimentation of new grape varieties exists.

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?

Philip S. Kampe 


Eva M. said...

Your article is very complete. I will look for the wines that were suggested at my local wine shop. Thank you for the post.

Rick D. said...

What a great prediction!

Cher L. said...

Any tips on traveling to Tejo?

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