DOP Alentejo has eight sub-regions that together cover about a fifth of the Vinho Regional Alentejano region, but these are rarely seen on a label. It makes sense to take advantage of the name Alentejo (or Vinho Regional Alentejano). Seven of the sub-regions are clustered fairly centrally.
Portalegre lies well to the north east on the granite foothills of the São Mamede mountains, where higher rainfall and cooler temperatures especially at night, along with many old vines, give complexity and freshness.
Borba, Évora, Redondo and Reguengos are more typical of the Alentejo, and can make smooth, harmonious, very easy-drinking reds.
Antão Vaz is the white star grape of the region, with good acidity and tropical fruit flavours. It also responds well to barrel-fermentation. Arinto and Roupeiro also offer precious acidity; while Diagalves, Manteúdo, Perrum and Rabo de Ovelha make up the blends. Aragonez (Tempranillo) is the most widely-planted red grape. The red-fleshed French grape Alicante Bouschet is often the inky, treacley backbone of red blends. Alfrocheiro, Castelão and Trincadeira (Tinta Amarela in Douro) also have valuable parts to play, with Moreto, Tinta Caiada (Parraleta in Spain) and Tinta Miuda (Graciano in Spain) padding out some blends.
The Alentejo is a relatively new wine region in Portugal and a such is more open to non Portuguese varieties such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and has therefore attracted some younger and more adventurous winemakers. These wines are made under the Vinho Regional classification.