It is a little over two years since our family ventured outside our Douro heartland for the first time since arriving in Portugal in 1882. Five generations on, in the spring of 2017, we discovered a magnificent property, Quinta da Fonte Souto, in the Portalegre sub-region of the Alentejo, approximately 300 km south of the Douro, and were fortunate to be able to buy it.
Now that we have two very good harvests under our belts, we could not be more thrilled with the phenomenal potential of this very distinct corner of the Alentejo.
Today marks the launch of the first wines from Fonte Souto and we are proud to present the estate’s flagship red wine, Vinha do Souto; the core estate wines, Quinta da Fonte Souto (red and white) and the more approachable Florão (red and white) for drinking young. All the wines are from our debut vintage in 2017, except for the Florão White which is from our second harvest, 2018.
Portalegre – a different Alentejo
The Portalegre sub-region represents a different Alentejo. In contrast to the hot and dry Alentejo plain, Portalegre is situated in the northeast of the region at a higher altitude. The Fonte Souto estate (207 ha of land with 42 ha of vineyards), lies on the slopes of the São Mamede Range, which at 1,025 metres (3,633 feet) is the highest point in Portugal south of the Tagus River.
The cooler and wetter microclimate merges the Mediterranean climate of the surrounding area with strong Atlantic influences. The schist and granite soils and the mature low-yielding vines at Fonte Souto produce superbly structured and balanced wines whose main characteristics are freshness, complexity, elegance and the promise of great longevity.
The altitude provides a significant benefit in the form of the wide diurnal temperature variation (hot days and cool nights) during the summer ripening cycle, which aids the retention of the grapes’ natural acidity. This explains the exceptional freshness and elegance of the wines and is also important in giving them very good ageing potential.
Quinta da Fonte Souto is entirely situated within the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, a protected conservation area, and ranges between 490 and 550 metres in altitude. The estate has a traditional Alentejo house with a history of strong connections with the local community, and has an extensive forested area, which includes chestnuts and cork oaks as well as cherry orchards and olive groves. We are regenerating 100 hectares of forestry at the estate with indigenous Portuguese tree species, which provide a natural haven for biodiversity and resistance against forest fires.
Fonte Souto – a long-term commitment
Our family believe in doing things well and paying attention to the details. We are not in a hurry. We have a generational mindset and a commitment to the long-term sustainability of our wines and the communities and ecosystems where we work. At Fonte Souto we are learning about this unique terroir and adjusting to the local culture and traditions. We plan to be here for a long time and have begun to build the necessary foundations to be able to produce fantastic wines from the property for many years to come.
It is for that reason that our motto at Fonte Souto is ‘Um outro vagar’ (at a different pace), inspired by the typical Alentejano healthy and relaxed attitude to life which believes that you can often make bigger strides at a slower pace.
This new venture opens a fresh chapter in our family story. It was always going to take something special for us to make the first steps beyond our home region. At Fonte Souto we believe we have found all the conditions we were looking for. Our goal here is to produce a distinctive range of estate wines that showcase the very best of Portalegre, the Alentejo and Portugal. This is a long-term project with the objective of putting the unique terroir of this sub-region on the map, for wine lovers in Portugal and elsewhere around the world.
To find out more, please visit: http://www.fontesouto.com/?lang=en