The group’s first meeting of the New Year started the theme of “Lesser known wine areas” with red wines from Portugal’s Alentejo – the bit of Portugal south of the Tagus river and north of the Algarve. Naomi brought us four wines across a wide spectrum of prices, all sourced from The Wine Society – a good place to look for less well known wines. The first was Adega de Redondo Real Lavrador, Alentejano 2018 13% £5.95. This seemed a little on the rough side but could be a good wine for a summer afternoon on the lawn. In the scores it came last, marginally pipped by Esporão Monte Velho Tinto, Alentejano 2018 13% £7.95 which was reckoned by most a little smoother. The third wine was Esporão Colheita Tinto, Alentejano 2017 14% £9.95 which was considerably better liked. But they were all eclipsed by the final wine José de Sousa, Alentejano 2017 14.5% £10.95, the winner of the evening by a substantial margin. It was interesting to hear about the vine variety conservation efforts in the region. Our second and third wines came from Herdade do Esporão’s vineyard. Their nursery houses an astonishing 194 grape varieties, most of which are indigenous Portuguese varieties, and 37 of which are in current production.