(By Eve Bushman) One rare not-so-sunny day I traveled to the Mondrian Los Angeles in West Hollywood for a wine class and tasting on the Alentejo region of Portugal. My education on Portugal had been, up to this point, mostly spent on the obvious: Ports. However, as a wine writer, it’s always special to not only taste new wines but also have the additional benefit of learning. Here goes…

The Masterclass

The session will be presented by Evan Goldstein, MS, one of our industry’s most engaging and informed wine educators, in addition to being a leading expert on Portuguese wines. At the masterclass, Evan will offer a snapshot of the grapes, zones, sub-zones and characteristics that define Alentejo’s wines and collectively establish it as one of the most promising wine regions in southern Europe today. 

Takeaways for Wine 101ers

  • Three sides of Portugal is bordered by Spain.
  • It takes less than 90 minutes to travel by train from Lisbon to Alentejo.
  • Alentejo covers one third of Portugal.
  • Alentejo is the size of Belgium.
  • They’ve been making wine for over 4,000 years; the Roman settlers were the first to plant vineyards.
  • They are 9th in the world in vineyard acreage.
  • They are 11th in total worldwide production (USA is 4th)
  • Portuguese have the largest wine consumption in the world, 54 liters per person per year.
  • Nearly 80% of the wines are reds.
  • Blending is allowed and they “embrace everybody’s grapes” in Alentejo.


We had 12 wines to taste, starting with a sparkling Rose, two whites and the remainder were all reds. Evan wanted us to taste blind – this was lost on me as no one seemed that familiar with the grapes to begin with, we were there for a lesson, so not sure why the blind format – but it didn’t slow us down. In fact, by “halftime” we had been given less time to evaluate each wine.


Surrounded by fellow media and some members of the trade, we began our task. Number, year, producer and then the name of the wines are below. The many wine grape varietals are in parenthesis.

Read more here: Eve’s Wine 101: Appellation Alentejo in Portugal: A Tasting and Masterclass