Nowadays, the international reputation of the Portuguese wines is undisputable.

There are several wine-growing regions, with one of the widest being the one of Alentejo. This is the location of the Esporão Estate, located side by side with the historic town of Reguengos de Monsaraz. It comprises 1830 hectares, of which 450 are vineyards of the most distinct castes, 80 hectares are occupied by olive groves and 600 are meadows, groves and plantations of holm oak.

The landscape is bounded to the west by the Degebe river, being crossed from north to south by the Caridade creek and centered by the reservoir, which occupies 120 hectares. It is considered of the oldest delimited properties of Monsaraz.

The Estate’s boundaries were set in 1267, being back then named Defense of Esporão. Its owner was Soeiro Rodrigues, a judge from the city of Évora.

Later, in 1427, the entail of Esporão was established by D. Teresa Anes da Fonseca, married to Fernão Lopes Lobo. Their daughter, D. Leonor Ribeiro da Fonseca, married Álvaro Mendes de Vasconcelos, knight of the house of the Duke of Braganza and regent of Évora. This nobleman was the one who ordered the construction of the Esporão Tower, between the years of 1457 of 1490.

The tower’s edification may have had the goal to assert a new lineage, in front of society.

Hence it was a symbol of lordship and military power. It didn’t have any usefulness from the territorial defense’s point of view.

At the beginning of the 16th century, João Mendes de Vasconcelos, who was in possession of the Estate, gave the order to edify a hermitage devoted to Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of Remedies). After its construction, it became a site of an intense popular cult in the region. The chancel’s frescoes deserve to be underlined.

The dawn of a new period started when the counts of Alcáçovas sold the Estate to José Roquette and Joaquim Bandeira. That was the year of 1973. A couple of years later, the first grape harvest and the first wine production took place. More recently, it became part of the olive oil market.

Nowadays, the Esporão Tower houses the Perdigões Archaeological Complex Museum. There one can witness some of the pieces of excavations carried out in a prehistoric gathering (about 5000 years old), found 5 km away from the Estate.

I recommend visiting all this cultural wealth. Contemplating the landscape, the monuments, the vineyards and the wines. It’s a paradisiacal site where one can enjoy a splendorous late afternoon in Alentejo, while holding a glass… It was the first certified wine tourism endeavor in Portugal.

Please, check as well these articles about the cante of Alentejo and Monsaraz.

My deepest thanks to Esporão Estate for its collaboration and sympathy when providing information about the Estate and also for the photo used.