Penìnsula de Setúbal… formally known
as Terras do Sado
The Península de Setúbal is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the rivers Tejo and Sado. The region, located south of Lisbon, is essentially characterised by tourism and large wine farms. From Castelão to Moscatel, this region has always had an important role in the history of Portuguese wines.
There are two types of landscape in the Península de Setúbal: fields near water resources and fields near the mountain range. The Arrabida mountain protects the vines from the influence of the atlantic. Here, the vines are planted on the steep slopes of the mountain and in clay or limestone soils. There are also some areas of small slopes (no more than 150 metres of altitude) that are used to produce high quality vines, since the soils are poor and sandy. There is a great plain amongst the highest areas, crossed by the rivers Sado, Sorraia and Almançor (and their affluents). The climate here is Mediterranean temperate, therefore summers are hot and dry and winters slightly rainy. The air moisture is between 75 and 80%, reflecting the proximity of the sea.
| The Wine
The Península de Setúbal comprises two Denominations of Origin; Palmela and Setúbal and the designation vinhos regionais Península de Setúbal (Península de Setúbal regional wines – formally Terras do Sado regional wines). Most of the region’s wines use the Castelão grape in their composition. Castelão is the region’s traditional grape variety and legislation says a high percentage of this grape must be used in the production of DOC wines.
The dominant white grape varieties are Fernão Pires, Arinto and, of course, Moscatel de Setúbal. This last one is used in white wines, but also in fortified wines from the Denomination of Origin of Setúbal.
In the last couple of years, producers have been trying to adapt other grape varieties to the region. One started planting grape varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Aragonez or Touriga Franca, as well as some foreign ones, such as the famous Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Chardonnay. These grape varieties are greatly used in the production of Terras do Sado regional wines.
• Setúbal DOC
The region covers the municipalities of Palmela, Setúbal, and part of Sesimbra all lying to the south of Lisbon. It produces a fortified sweet wine in the style of Muscat. There are three varieties, the first being 20 years old, the second being 25 years old, and the best being 50 years old and named “Setúbal Apoteca”. Other varieties of muscatel wine are available that are about 6 years old and have a full-bodied silky sweet flavour. Near to the city of Setúbal is the State Prison of Pinheiro da Cruz whose inmates together with its staff are responsible for producing both red and white wines that have gained national awards for their quality. Its production is governed by the limited size of its vineyard that lies within its protected grounds.
Tinto Cabernet Sauvignon Península de Setúbal DOC 2008
Fruity aroma, dominated by nuances of fruits of the forest and strawberry conserve. In the mouth, we find flavours identical to the aromas, integrated with a smooth tannic structure.
£21.17 a bottle.
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• Palmela DOC
This region covers Montijo, together part of the municipalities of both Palmela and Setúbal. The red wine is full-bodied, deep in colour with full spicy flavour. The white wine is fruity with aromatic flavours. Some of the best red table wines are produced in the region of Setúbal, and one in particular deserves a special mention, Quinta da Bacalhoa. It is typical of the region and is deep in colour and has a rich blackcurrant flavour.
• Vinho Regional (VR) Península de Setúbal (Terras do Sado)
The alluvial river flooded soil from the River Sado on which the city of Setúbal is located results in the production of a large quantity of reasonably quality wine.
Jose Maria da Fonseca
Joao Pires Branco Vinho Regional Terras do Sado 2008
Very floral and aromatic, with a soft lingering fruity taste.
£5.83 a bottle.
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