Quinta da Pellada Visit – Part 1

After the Quinta das Bágeiras visit, we continue our journey through all our partners, with the aim of strengthening ties ,relationships, and of looking for new opportunities.

These visits are divided into 3 parts:

  • Part 1: Visit to the facilities
  • Part 2: Interview with the Producer
  • Part 3: Wine Tasting Lunch / Dinner

Part 1

Another rainy day. This June is really atypical. And here we go to Dão. Or rather, to the western foothills of the Serra da Estrela.

Pinhanços. A locality between Seia and Gouveia, to look at the great Serra. This is where Quinta de Saes and Quinta da Pellada are located. Quiet village, where you can breathe rural life. Where certain things are still simple. Where all the people know each other. Where all the people greet each other on the streets. Where you can see herds of goats passing through the middle of the village…

Engineer Álvaro de Castro and his daughter, Maria Castro, were already waiting for us. We entered the family home, and shortly afterwards we are on our way, through the property (Saes), with the company of the Engineer’s various dogs. All friendly, except Leão (“Lion”). A massive Serra da Estrela dog who demands respect: even because it usually bites to whom he thinks is not reliable !!! And also with the friendly company of Carriço (a donkey) !!! It is said (in jest) that Carriço is responsible for the financial area of the company. The donkey came from the Douro: it belonged to Jorge Serôdio Mendes. He and Álvaro de Castro made an exchange: Engineer Álvaro got the donkey and Jorge Serôdio took a Serra da Estrela dog. The truth is that the donkey has adapted well to its new habitat, and apparently, always present and friendly, has been rising in the hierarchy! …

We get to the Jeep but it doesn’t want to work. Age does not forgive. We pass to Plan B and we are on our way to Quinta da Pellada

In all, there are 65 hectares, divided by Quinta de Saes, Quinta da Pellada and Vinha do Outeiro (the last one bought from Passarela in the last decade, from which 50% of the grapes come from Pape). Then there are some rented parcels, such as those from which the Muleta, the Dente de Ouro and the Barragem come from, for example.

On arriving at Pellada, after passing the wall (there is no gate), we see the Carrocel vineyard to our left, it came only from Touriga Nacional, already with a good age, but still, maybe half the age of those vineyards that are in the rectangle on the right-hand side: the famous Velha Velha da Pellada.

The scenery is magnificent. We have a notion of the geographical environment. To the East the Serra da Estrela; which continues to the Southwest with the Serra do Açor; to the West Buçaco is well seen; and a little further north there is Caramulo. Just take a little more than 180 degrees to get the perspective of it all.

In the direction of the Serra do Açor, we have contact with the vineyard of Baga. A very special grape varietal, and that has different peculiarities in this terroir. Álvaro de Castro only use it alone (varietal) in years when it is exceptional: such as Quinta da Pellada Baga 2005, and now, more recently, Quinta da Pellada and Pape Baga 2012 (1000 bottles only in Magnum).

But the attention was turned to the rectangle of the old vineyard. Álvaro de Castro explains that the research work has identified different microterroirs in that space. In a few contiguous hectares, there are significant differences, especially in the soil: a part with more granite, a more sandy part … Apart from differences in altitude and in proximity to the forest … In addition, being a very old ( as we can see from the analysis of the strains), with all varieties mixed, some of them abound more in one place than in another … It was all this that gave rise to the appearance, in the harvest of 2013, of several wines from these microplots, and which Álvaro de Castro called “the 90’s series” (presenting the Quinta da Pellada wines label of the 90’s): Casa, (the portion closest to the site), Alto (the portion that is at higher elevation) and Talhão 49, all of them different from each other. This experience, as Álvaro de Castro calls it, of only 300 and a few bottles each, will continue in 2014, with the appearance of another wine from another parcel: Fundo, exactly the portion with lower altitude, and closer to the forest .. .

Then we visited the house, whih date back to the sixteenth century … A beautiful building, rough around the edges, right there in the middle of all that vineyard … It is mostly used for events, although it can also house some person (s). From him, we have the sight on all those hills that I spoke …

And it’s time to get back in the cars. Let’s go on the way to Outeiro. We passed lesser noble parcels, and we entered paths that we would hardly have imagined that the car would pass … But it passed … Outeiro is facing the Serra da Estrela. Álvaro de Castro tells us that he does not understand why: The Touriga Nacional do Outeiro produces a wine with a very intense aroma and flavor … An intense and floral touriga in all its splendor.

And it starts to rain. We find Mr. Jorge, the person responsible for the viticulture of the farm: they are working on grafting and harvesting a new vineyard (mostly Tinta Roriz) and we have received a small lesson on this subject …

And time passes by. We returned to Saes to conduct the interview. We still have to go do some tasting and visit the winery, before going to lunch !!!!!

W4P (JUN 2018)