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Quinta do Monte d’Oira
by
Kathy Sullivan

Quinta de Monte d'OiraSummary: Quinta do Monte d’Oira is located within an hour north of Lisbon in Alenquer. The winery is housed in 19th century buildings and the vineyards flow along sloped hills behind the winery buildings. Quinta do Monte d’Oira focuses on Syrah and Viognier grape varieties.

Quinta do Monte d’Oira is a family owned winery and vineyard north of Lisbon. The owner is José Bento dos Santos who has a passion for food and wine and is involved with the Les Psychologies du Goût and the International Academy of Gastronomy. Today José’s son Francisco is the enthusiastic manager/leader of the winery. Visitors can stand near the winery and view the hectares of vineyards. Also in the distance is a grove of trees which are expected to continue on. Quinta do Monte d’Oira is the “hill of gold estate”. The hill is known for it beautiful sunset colors.

Quinta de Monte d'OiraOur group tour was conducted by Francisco Bento dos Santos. Joining our group were the mayors, Mr. Pedro Folgado from Alenquer and Mr. Carlos Bernardes from Torres Vedras. These two towns about 40 minutes apart share the 2018 European Wine Capital of the Year.

Quinta de Monte d'OiraThe property at Quinta do Monte d’Oira consists of 42 hectares (104 acres) with 30 hectares (74 acres) of vineyards. During our March visit, the grapevines were sleeping but the small yellow flowers decorated the sloping hills of vines. Francisco said that the bright yellow flowers attract ladybugs. The vineyard has a Mediterranean climate with a strong Atlantic influence. The soils in the vineyards are limestone and clay; however, there are differences between each parcel. All of the vineyards are 100% organic, and every other row is cultivated. Grape varieties are primarily Syrah and Viognier; however, they also grow Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Arinto and Marsanne.

At harvest time, the grapes are harvested manually. The winery’s protocol is to keep the harvested grapes from each plot separate. The winemaker uses commercial yeast and according to Francisco, the process is yet quite neutral. Everything is kept separate until it is time for blending the wines.

The winery buildings date back to the beginning of the 19th century. Originally it was an old maceration winery. The tasting room is adjacent to the barrel room.

Quinta de Monte d'Oira     Quinta de Monte d'Oira

Quinta do Monte d’Oira Wine Tasting with Appetizers and Lunch

The wine tasting was with Schott Zwiesel stemware and included appetizers such as: swordfish tataki with algae, seeds and ginger; goat cheese and honey puff pastry pies; quail torricado and quail fried egg, courato chips with mustard and alheira croquette on a rennet apple purée. The wines were paired with the appetizers. This wine and food tasting took place in a room overlooking a barrel room.

Quinta de Monte d'Oira

Quinta de Monte d'OiraThe first wine was the Libra Rosé a 100% Syrah wine. The wine was light pink color with an orange hue. The wine offered aroma and taste notes of red berry fruit. The finish was crisp.

Libra White 2017 was a blend of Viognier, Arinto and Marsanne. This was an unoaked wine. The wine was a light yellow color. The aroma was of tropical fruit. The taste included yellow stone fruit, pineapple, melon and mineral. The finish was crisp.

Madrigal 2016 was produced with 100% Viognier. Half of the juice was fermented in stainless steel; while the other half was fermented and aged in 500L French oak for six months. The result was a light yellow colored wine with a floral aroma. The taste was floral with apple, pear and some white peach. The finish was crisp and fruity with some mineral on the aftertaste.

Lybra Red 2015 was produced with Syrah harvested from different plots. The wine was aged in 2nd and 3rd year oak barrels. The wine was an opaque ruby color. The aroma was of black fruit and spice. The taste included notes of blackberries, pepper, and baking spices. The wine was full bodied and had medium/bold tannins. The finish had fruit yielding to spice.

The Reserva 2013 was produced with Syrah and a splash of Viognier. The wine was co-fermented and spent 16 to 20 months in new French oak. The wine was an opaque dark ruby color. The wine offered an aroma of spices. The taste had baking spices, plums and blackberries. The wine was full bodied with medium/bold tannins. The finish had spice and fruit notes.

Our group then proceeded to a dining area in another 19th century building across a piazza. The room had a long table that could seat over thirty in the center of the rectangular structure. At one end of the room a roaring fire took the chill off the day. Next to the fireplace was a large, cozy chair - perfect for a glass of wine and a good book.

Our two to three hour lunch included: pink swordfish from Azores on a shrimp, tomato and coriander açorda; quail from Alenquer, a game and poultry meat ‘Wellington’; asparagus and a mushroom, foie gras and potato gratin. Dessert was a fabulous strawberry, hazelnut and a chocolate soft cake. The meal was prepared by Chef João Simões of the restaurant Alenquerense Casta 85.

Paired with the swordfish and shrimp was a 2016 Lybra composed of Viognier, Marsanne and Arinto. The wine had tropical notes and citrusy crispness. Paired with the quail and Wellington was a 2012 QMdO Reserva a Syrah with 4% Viognier. This fruit forward red wine had hints of baking spices and matched well with the quail and Wellington.

Gastronomy is a major theme of the winery and they did a superb job presenting the wines paired with an array of dishes.

Quinta do Monte d’Oiro
Freixial de Cima
2580-404 Ventosa Alenquer

 

 

Article written March 2018.

 



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