Updated: Jul 21
Visionary winemaker Luis Louro learned the art of winemaking over several decades, working alongside his father at Quinta do Mouro, then within his agroindustrial studies, as well as during an internship in Sonoma, California.
The combination of varied knowledge, and higher vision for indigenous Portuguese grape varieties, has inspired Luis to bring to life a veritable version of wines with character, for which Wine Enthusiast notes as being, “No shy wine this Alicante Bouchet...This estate has produced a powerfully rick wine, full of chocolate and dark fruits, as well as dark tannins.”
Luís Louro at Adega Monte Branco.
As Adega do Monte Branco is favorite place to go wine tasting, for the wonderful wines, warmth of hospitality, and impressive modern winery, we seized the opportunity to ask Luis a bit more about his winemaking methods:
Q: Luis, tell us about you and your winery:
A: I have lived all my life in Southern Portugal’s, Estremoz, and I always loved to be outside in the vineyards, so when I was 23 I decided that I wanted to produce my own wines, ones which would express my feeling, and the great potential of this region by making wines from indigenous Portuguese grape varieties, and respecting nature.
Q: How many different grape varieties do you work with?
A: Thirteen, and all are indigenous aside from Syrah, which we grow a small amount of for blending in one of our wines. To me, blending is like using salt and pepper while you're cooking; the purpose is to enhance other notes harmoniously.
Luís' line of 'Alento' wines from Adega Monte Branco: Available below in our store.
Q: Everyone talks about terroir: What makes yours special?
A: Terroir is the combination of four factors: grape varieties, soil, climate and human influence. It is a very warm and dry region, but our vineyards sit at an altitude of 450m, on top of a large subsoil water reserve, which makes our microclimate a little less warm and dry. Our topsoil consists of limestone and shale.
Q: What do you do to keep your wines and land healthy?
A: We are a part of a sustainable growing program, one which encompasses our entire process, from vineyard planting and management, to wine production, packaging and logistics. On top of that, our goal is to express our terroir, by respecting the environment and what nature gives us.
The wine cellar at Alecrim in Estremoz.
Q: Tell us something special about your region:
A: Estremoz is a historical city surrounded by medieval walls, and was a very important city in Portugal during the 13th and 14th centuries. Many important battles in the history of Portugal are connected to this town. It is known as the ‘white village,’ because of the color of the houses and white marble from the region.
Q: What are your goals for the winery?
A: My goal is to keep making authentic sustainable wines, and to find customers that share our values, and help us continue doing what we do. It is important to me that we do not grow in volume; I believe if you grow too much you lose wine passion and become a wine industry. I would also like to produce more varieties of wines, especially wines that show character and respect the history and grape varieties of the region.
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Buy Adega Monte Branco wines below:
Adega Monte Branco 'Alento' Rosé 2019 | $20
A blend of Aragonez (85%) and Touriga Nacional (15%) and aged in stainless steel, this wine is lively with intense flavors of fresh red berries. It is well balanced with softness and acidity, prolonging the feeling of freshness it shows on the palate. This wine makes a great aperitif or "while you're cooking dinner" wine, but it's also great for pairing. We love it with moderately spiced take-out like tacos, gyros and moroccan couscous with chicken. View in store.
Adega Monte Branco 'Alento' White 2018 | $20
Made entirely from indigenous Portuguese grape varieties Arinto (50%), Antão Vaz (40%) and Roupeiro (10%) and aged in stainless steel, this wine has strong aromatics of zesty citrus fruit and minerality. It's a well balanced wine with smooth, integrated acidity that lends it freshness and length. We love this wine with all things from the sea. It is exceptionally good with white fish and meats, and leafy green herbs. View in store.
Adega Monte Branco 'Alento' Red 2017 | $20
Made from indigenous Portuguese grape varieties Aragonez (40%), Tincadeira (40%), Alicante Bouschet (10%) and Touriga Nacional (10%) and aged in stainless steel, this wine has intense aromas of ripe, juicy red fruits that are balanced and fresh. Its medium body, medium tannin and medium acidity make it a fantastically diverse wine when it comes to food pairing. While it's delicious with red meats and ham, it also lends well to roasted vegetables, smoke, hearty pastas and even Mexican food. View in store.
Adega Monte Branco 'Alento' Reserva White 2017 | $25
Produced entirely with the indigenous Portuguese grape varieties Arinto (70%) and Antão Vaz (30%) and aged for 5 months in neutral French oak, this wine is incredibly well balanced and fresh with delicate oaky flavors, smooth acidity, fresh, juicy citrus fruits and a long, mineral finish. We love this wine with richer seafood dishes, including Portugal's famous Bacalhau (salt cod) due to its higher acidity and lemon-zest like flavors. View in store.
Adega Monte Branco 'Alento' Reserva Red 2015 | $30
Produced mainly from grape varieties indigenous to the region, Aragonez (40%), Alicante Bouschet (40%), Touriga Nacional (10%) and Syrah (10%), and aged for 12 months in French oak, this is a full bodied wine with a heavy mouth-feel, ripe tannins and rich aromatic intensity, with strong notes of ripe fruits and spice. This is a complex wine with a long finish. This wine is great with red meats and ham, smokey foods, hearty pastas and Mexican dishes. View in store.
Adega Monte Branco Luis Louro 2015 | $52.94
This powerhouse blend of Alicante Bouschet (70%) and Aragonez (30%) is aged in French oak for 12 months. It pours a beautiful and sultry deep, concentrated garnet color. It has incredibly high aromatic complexity, huge body, layers and layers of depth and incredible structure and acidity. Long on the finish, this is a serious wine with plenty of character and great aging potential. The best pairings for this will include steak or lamb, or any equally intense foods like barbecued and grilled meats and carne asada. View in store.
Winery: Adega Monte Branco
Winemakers: Luís Louro and Inês Capão
Appellation: Alentejo, Portugal
Total Production in Bottles: 250,000
Number of Different Wines Produced: 8
Cork Closures: Yes
Farming Methods: Sustainable
Yield per Hectare: 7