The purchase of Casa Agricola José de Sousa Rosado Fernandes in 1986 saw a long-held dream become reality for José Maria da Fonseca: to produce Alentejo wine using traditional winemaking methods from an estate with history and prestige.
This property won on both counts, having produced wine since at least 1878 and having one absolutely legendary vintage – the José de Sousa 1940.
The Monte da Ribeira estate that contains the vineyard lies alongside the road into Monsaraz and has an area of 120 hectares, of which 72 are planted with vines. The vines have always been grown in granite-based soil with excellent exposure to the sun; some were even planted by the hand of José de Sousa himself, particularly in the early 1950s when he concentrated on red grape varieties like Trincadeira, Aragonez and Grand Noir. We started replanting the vineyard in 1988 and completed the task at the end of the 1990s.
José de Sousa Mayor is the estate’s premium wine, and its concept and style aims to reproduce the key features of the famous 1940 vintage. If this is in itself a superb challenge the fact that conditions are such that the estate can produce José de Sousa Mayor virtually every year makes it a true quest.
Classification: Vinho Regional Alentejano
Region: Setubal Peninsula
Grape varieties: Castelão (74%), Trincadeira (14%) and Aragonez (12%)
Type of soil: Sandy, and Clay-lime
Aroma: Raspberries, dry figs, strawberries, violets, minty and green tea
Palate: Fruity, balanced fruit / acidity with pleasant soft tannins with integrated oak
Fermentation lasts for about 4 days at 28ºC - 30ºC with full skin contact
Excellent with meat dishes, game and cheese. Serve at a temperature of 12oC and consume it at 16ºC.