In the 1970s, Portugese rosés such as Lancers and Mateus were the height of sophistication to many young wine drinkers: “It’s imported, and comes in a fun bottle!” With age comes wisdom, and these wines were eventually abandoned for the justifiably famous fortified wines of Portugal, Port and Madeira, produced by many ancient and famous houses.
Much less well-known is Portugal’s status as a producer of both red and white table wine, ranking in the world’s top ten in production. With a population of just 10 million, but top five in per capita consumption, much of that wine is sipped by the thirsty Portuguese.
Quinta da Fonte Souto is a producer in Portalegre, a sub-region of the Alto Alentejo in southern Portugal. It is owned by the Symington family, well-known for their premium Port wines, who acquired the winery in 2017.
Quinta is Portuguese for estate. Fonte translates as “source,” denoting the springs that provide an abundance of fresh water to the vineyard. Souto, or “chestnut grove,” recalls the considerable area of chestnut trees and cork oaks that cover the estate. There are 511 acres on the property, of which 106 are planted with vines. Fonte Souto is the Symington’s first property outside the Douro region, and includes a tasting room and a traditional manor house.