The excellence of the wine region near Lisbon remains a closely guarded secret. This area has perfect soil, gracious slopes, a climate blessed by the Atlantic breeze, producers that learned the secrets of the vine from their forefathers, and a new generation of enologists that can turn great grapes into unique wines.
One of the top producers of the Lisbon region is Quinta de Chocapalha, which is owned and operated by the family of star enologist Sandra Tavares da Silva.
If you are interested in wine, drive to Quinta de Chocapalha for a wine tasting. You’ll see beautiful wine country and enjoy the rare privilege of learning about wine from the people who produce it. You’ll come away with a new appreciation for the different varietals, styles, cultivation methods, and production techniques. But, most of all, you’ll learn that it takes great passion to produce great wine.
Quinta de Chocapalha is located in Aldeia Galega in the region of Alenquer, 50 km from Lisbon. You can schedule a wine tasting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to an old saying, you need three men to drink a bottle of Bairrada wine, one to do the drinking, and the other two to help him stand up.
Bairrada wines do not actually have a high alcoholic content. But they do have a strong taste imparted by a local varietal, the baga. There was a time when Bairada producers started replacing the baga with French varietals to appeal to the international wine market.
This trend would probably have continued if it weren’t for Luís Pato. This maverick wine maker was determined to make exceptional baga wines. Success was not easy. He had to defy tradition and find new methods to produce and age his wines. But his results are magnificent. Which is why star chefs, like the brilliant Jean-Georges Vongerichten, include Pato’s wines on their wine lists.
You need three people to drink a bottle of Luís Pato: a couple to enjoy the wine with their meal and a chef to cook a meal as great as the wine.
Pêra Manca is a cult wine produced near Évora, in Alentejo. It has a long pedigree that is intertwined with the history of Portugal. Pedro Álvares Cabral took bottles of Pêra Manca in the voyage that resulted in the discovery of Brazil, in 1500. The wine continued to gather fame, wining gold medals in Bordeaux in 1879 and 1898, but its production ended with the death of the vineyard’s owner in 1920.
In 1990 the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation resumed the production of Pêra Manca, aging the wine in the cellar of a 1580 Jesuit monastery.
The white Pêra Manca is made with Antão Vaz and Arinto grapes. The red Pêra Manca is made with Trincadeira and Aragonês grapes and it is produced only in exceptional years.
It is a wonderful wine for a special occasion. After all, it was good enough to celebrate the discovery of Brazil.
Click here for the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation Cartuxa winery website.