Regions like Douro, Dao and Vinho Verde may have enjoyed more limelight in the UK in recent years, but the marketing agency working for Tejo says it offers the right blend of volume, quantity and competitive pricing for the UK market and is spearheading a big push on the British retail trade.
Tejo is located east of Lisbon and further south than Douro and Dao, and is split into three defined regions – Bairro, Charneca and Campo.
It was formerly known as Ribatejo but has simply been called Tejo since 2009, a tribute to the river that has defined its landscape, climate and economy for centuries and is also credited for shaping the distinct Tejo terroir.
The DOC regulations allow a fairly wide range of grape varieties: for whites the local Fernão Pires, Alicante Branco, Arinto, Tália, Trincadeira das Pratas and Vital, but also Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and alongside the traditional red Castelão and Trincadeira it is possible to use Aragonez, Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Julie Kendrick, managing director at JK marketing, which markets the region, said: “Tejo is an area of Portugal where you can still find producers with volume, quality and good pricing.
“This is the new upcoming and exciting region of Portugal! Certainly the region where Europe meets the New World.
“This region offers an array of opportunities for buyers. It is investing in the UK market this year and wants to help its producers find more distribution and business partners. The diversity of wines that Portugal itself offers is reflected in this region, which has products from entry level to premium wines and for all occasions. Tejo is a region with producers defining their identity and offering products, which are just what the market wants.”
One of the faces behind the Tejo region, Diogo Campilho, will join wine commentator Charles Metcalfe to guide buyers through the wines and educate them on the region at the Wines of Portugal tasting, which is held at RHS Lindley Hall in London on Wednesday, March 2. Tejo will occupy tables 86-88, where there will be five producers seeking UK distribution.
They are as follows, with notes from Kendrick:
Adega do Cartaxo
They are a cooperative with land extending to 1,000 ha. Their production is around 7 million litres of which, within our diverse range, 70% is red. "We believe in our people, investing in them and in the technology we need to create the best wines possible. Genuine and authentic: This describes the wines of the Adega Cooperativa do Cataxo".
New wine to discover: Plexus.
Fiuza & Bright
Very good quality for an accessible price. They export 50% of all our production and are keen to find a good partner in the UK.
New vintages to taste: Fiuza Tinta Miúda 2015, Fiuza Alicante Bouschet /Touriga Nacional 2015, Fiuza Alvarinho 2015, Fiuza Touriga Nacional/Merlot.
Quinta da Alorna
Quinta da Alorna combines a long tradition of wine growing and modern winemaking techniques. The estate was established in 1723 by D. Pedro de Almeida, viceroy of India and the 1st Marquis of Alorna. It is now the largest vineyard in the Tejo region (220 ha), growing a wide variety of grapes and producing several nationally and internationally recognised wines. Quinta da Alorna exports around 50% of its production to 28 markets including the US, Sweden, Netherlands, China and Brazil.
Two new wines to discover: Sauvignon Blanc and Alvarinho
Quinta da Ribeirinha
Quinta da Ribeirinha is a family based company. The vineyards are planted on clay-limestone soil, and they have a dry Mediterranean climate. They combine innovation and technology with the experience and knowledge learned over generations. The vines grow on an integrated production system in which the use of chemicals is minimal, saving the environment and looking after human health.
Quinta do Casal Monteiro
Established in 1979, Quinta do Casal Monteiro bottles limited production vintages exclusively from its 80 ha property. With an average age of 35 years, the vineyards are located in fertile alluvial sandy clay soil, rooting in an unusual combination and resulting in a low yield production of high quality wine. Moreover, the characteristic of the sub-Mediterranean temperate climate and its proximity to the river Tagus provides the wines with their own singular identity, revealed in both the lush aromas and the complex palate layered by a superb acidity. They are excellent food companions.