Another family day

We had a leisurely start to the day with a 10.30am departure as we headed east towards the town of Sabrosa, a key town for the production of table wines and close to our first visit –  Quinta do Beijo. This estate is family owned and the Monteiro family has been growing grapes for Port for 100 years. In 2009 they ventured into making table wines and have established an excellent reputation in that time. Last week we met Miguel, the grandfather and Joao – the current head of the estate.

This week, we met Mariana, the brother of Joao. There is a wonderful sense of mischief about all the family as they constantly seek to entertain, educate and inspire the people that visit. We took a casual walk through the winery, seeing at first hand the old concrete lagares, big hoppers of grapes from the harvest and a real sense of action and purpose around the winery.

We tasted their excellent Grand Reserva white, Douro red, 10 Year Old Tawny and 10 Year old White. All the wines were excellent. We then took the opportunity to taste their amazing 40 year old tawny – unbelievably rich and concentrated. This was a great start to our day.

From Beijo, it was a thirty minute drive to Quinta de Tourais, another wonderful family estate. The beautiful property dates back hundreds of years but the current family has been in possession since 1940. With eight hectares of vines, they are very organically focussed, use wild yeasts and are open to all sorts of novel and quirky ideas about winemaking. They provide fresh ideas and an alternative approach to the usual wine convention. Liliana showed us round with her usual passion and joy, as she pointed out the vineyards from the balcony, explained about the field blends and held court in the winery.

The whole family are involved in the production of lunch and we tasted an amazing array of wines with a truly wonderful spread of local cheeses, meats, vegetable pies, cod croquettes, salads and breads. A delicious pea soup had preceded this and an extraordinary pork shank was to follow. Crème brulee and pannacotta rounded things off along with a surprise ‘significant’ birthday cake for one of our party.

We returned to Vila Real for some further birthday celebrations.