Rui Reguinga Terrenus, 2016
Style/ Colour Red
Grape varieties Field blend including Aragonês, Trincadera, Alicante Bouchet and other native varieties.
The producer Rui Reguinga, one of Portugal’s best-known winemaker consultants, started making his own wines in 2004. His first label, Terrenus, took him back to the start of his winemaking career in the Alentejo’s Portalegre sub-region. Back in 1991, when he started out consulting at the local co-operative, Reguinga told me, “Portalegre was like a desert – no-one went there. No-one was trained in viticulture or winemaking. The locals had just grown grapes or made wine for a long time.” Today, Portalegre is a magnet for young guns and big players alike, including the Symington family of Port wine fame, who acquired their first vineyard outside the Douro Valley in its elevated climes. But it was Reguinga who introduced me to Portalegre’s unique climate and old field blend vineyards in 2009, before the region became trendy. My abiding memory of the visit is the sight of Rui dodgem-like chasing a kid goat away from his precious vines! The following year, I included Terrenus Tinto 2007 in my 50 Great Portuguese Wines.
The vineyard/winemaking Sourced from different field blend bush vine parcels averaging 60 years’ old at around 600m altitude. The soils are a mix of granite and schist, the former accentuating freshness, the latter muscle. Handpicked, the grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for 14 months in used Allier French oak barrels.
Tasting notes For some, the concept of making wine from a hotch potch of field blend varieties is an anathema. For others, harvesting multiple grape varieties at once (with different ripening cycles) has advantages where, as Reguinga puts it, “I don’t want to make a wine that is too perfect….boring.” Choose them well and field blend vineyards bring inbuilt complexity and balance. There is certainly nothing obvious or jammy about this red. It has a lovely intensity of fresh plum and red and black currant and berry fruit, with spicy, smooth but grainy tannins. The alcohol is worn well. 10,000 bottles produced.
Food Pairing Duck, Feijoada (bean stew) or Migas à Alentejana with porco preto cheeks (a traditional dish from Portalegre)
Serving recommendations Drink 2021-2024
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