Pêra Manca, the Wine of the Portuguese Discoverers

Portuguese viticulture is known for its high-quality labels. The Pêra Manca wine is one of the Portuguese wines with the highest worldwide recognition.

Besides all the quality surrounding this wine, the story behind the label is sensational and directly relates to Brazil’s discovery.

The first traces of this wine date back to 1300. The apparition of the Blessed Virgin to a shepherd in Evora, in the Alentejo region, transformed the place into a religious pilgrimage. A few years later, this site gave rise to a head church and a convent of the Order of Saint Jerome. The friars maintained some vineyards in the 15th and 16th centuries that gave rise to the Pêra Manca wine.

Pêra Manca wine has its name initially associated with the location of the land where vineyards are. The area was composed of a ravine with loose stones. At the time, they used to say that the rocks “wobbled and limped,” so they received the name “Pedras Mancas” (limp stones). This piece of land has been owned by the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation (FEA) since 1889.

This wine has citations in Portuguese chronicles from the 16th century and was used to seal the encounter between Pedro Álvares Cabral and the native Indians on his arrival in Brazil in 1500.

Pêra Manca bottle label

Pêra Manca bottle label

The José Soares Agricultural House gave the brand, which produced a wine with this name in the 19th century and would use it as a label for the best wine they made. The Cartuxa Garrafeira 1987, the first and only one with this name, can be considered a kind of “Pêra Manca edition zero,” which gave way to the brand we know today.

José Mateus Ginó, president of the executive council, joined the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation in June 1999. Months later, a new harvest of Pêra Manca was launched, which he proposed would reach the market at four times the price stipulated.

At the time, the red Pêra Manca wine of the previous vintage cost about 1250 escudos, the old Portuguese currency. It was proposed to multiply the value of the wine by four. A strategy that generated discussions and, in the end, increased the label’s value.

At that time, Eugénio de Almeida Foundation did not have a commercial structure, and the Alentejo was not associated with the number of brands that existed since the Alentejo Regional Wine Commission was created in 1989. The first production of Pêra Manca was in 1990.

The label has become a success due to its quality. It has gained iconic status in the wine world in Portugal, proven with numerous national and international awards, distinctions, and mentions.

Wine appreciation has happened over time because it is a severe job behind a wine, which needs to have much higher expenses when compared to a bottle of more common wine.

Pêra Manca wine is not only produced in the red version; it’s possible to find the white version, which has a very significant difference in market value.

The price difference is related to two factors: the production patterns of the white and red vines. The red grape varieties used for Pêra Manca have a very low production capacity and are therefore associated with higher costs. Another factor is that, generally, the end consumer values red wines more than white wines.

These red labels are produced from the Trincadeira and Aragonez grapes, typical varieties of the Alentejo region, full-bodied, complex, and extremely elegant, with woody aromas. The white labels are produced from Antão Vaz and Arinto grapes, with a fruity aroma and a refined, complex, and balanced flavor on the palate.

Eugenio de Almeida Foundation

Eugenio de Almeida Foundation

Production

The production of Pêra Manca wine is made only with grapes with all the quality requirements considered exceptional.

The grapes used come from selected vineyards of the Cartuxa Winery, which have more than 35 years of production. The grapes go through a gentle ripening without water stress. All these factors have care and attention, so they retain their aromatic potential.

When the grapes reach their optimal ripeness, they are harvested and transported to the local winery, where the destemming and crushing process occurs.

The fermentation is done in French oak barrels, using indigenous yeasts. The temperature control is to prolong the post-fermentative maceration for 18 months in the barrels. After bottling, the wine ages 48 months in the winery’s cellars.

A phenomenon also in Brazil

The brand’s growth helped valorize the label that, together with the awards, makes the Pêra Manca wine a success. The Pêra Manca red 2005 was elected “one of the 30 best and most desired wines in the world,” according to Vivino, a well-known wine app with 35 million users.

Today the label is one of Portugal’s most famous red wines. With only 30 years of history, it has Brazil as its primary market. The Pêra Manca label has Brazil as the first market to which the wine brand exported significantly.

The objective of the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation for the future of Pêra-Manca is not to grow in volume but for the brand to increase in value.

The 2013 vintage, released in 2017, was the smallest since the wine was launched, with only 19,000 bottles. The 2014 vintage, on the other hand, had about 20,000 bottles.

Regarded with a challenging year, the 2013 vintage of Pêra Manca wine suffered from heavy rains, which arrived relatively early, in mid-September, were a factor that caused some concern. Still, in the end, this was a frankly good vintage, despite the weather problems. Still, in the end, this was an honestly good vintage, despite the weather problems. Still, in the end, this was a frankly good vintage, despite the climatic issues. The mild spring contributed to ripeness and brought freshness and concentration to the 2014 vintage.

Contrary to what usually happens, this wine featured a predominance of the Trincadeira grape variety rather than the Aragonez variety. The vines from which the grapes come are over 35 years old. In this vintage, the liquid still spent 18 months in French oak barrels and 36 months in bottles at the cellars of the Cartuxa Monastery.

Quality Seal to avoid falsification.

The bottle of Pêra Manca wine is so disputed that a lot of falsification occurred. Seeking to end this fraud, the Eugênio de Almeida Foundation created, together with the Portuguese Mint, a security mechanism to guarantee the authenticity of the wine. Now, every bottle receives a holographic seal of authenticity, a capsule with a unique code linked to an image that appears to have three dimensions according to the light. When this code has its validation on the brand’s website, it guarantees that the bottle is original.

Also read: NEW WORLD WINE LABELS

List of awards won by Pêra Manca:

Below we can check out some of the awards that the Pêra Manca wine has already won.

Critic Robert Parker awarded the 2010 vintage 92 points, the 2011 vintage received 94 points from Wine Enthusiast, and Robert Parker, the Wine Spectator gave it 91 points. The 2014 vintage received 93 points from the Wine Spectator and 90 points from critic Robert Parker.

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Categories: This Day in Wine History | ArticlesBy Published On: March 9, 2023Last Updated: February 28, 2024

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