Lisbon Wines and Óbidos one day
We started this wine tourism tour around Lisbon, with wine tasting, snack and lunch, in Loures area, at Quinta das Carrafouchas Estate (1)(2) - Baroque XVIII th century manor house, where the french General Junot was hosted by during the first french invasion of Portugal, in 1807. Surrounded by vineyards, in a genuine rural environment where there is even a herd of cattle, we´ll visit the farm and taste two regional wines of Lisbon internationaly awarded. Then is time to go to Bucelas (3)(4), the capital of Arinto, where we´ll visit a wine cellar with 123 years and taste an excellent Arinto sparkling. After a brief passage through the town church, with lush decor and “azulejos” (tiles) from the XVIth century, we lunch in a quality restaurant of the West zone. The remaining time is spenting enjoying the beauty of Óbidos (5), a historic village surrounded by city walls, full of remnants of all ages, since Visigoths to the Moors, through the Gothic and Baroque styles.
1. Quinta das Carrafouchas Estate, built in 1714, was in the XIXth century property of the beautiful Countess of Ega, official mistress of General Junot. During the first French invasion of Portugal, was at this Baroque-style house that Junot lived. In the owner's company we´ll visit the beautiful chapel, the courtyard, the old winery, the vineyard, the fountain and the gardens with their tanks and beautiful decorations in Baroque “azulejos” (tiles). The chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel will amaze us with its magnificent gilded woodcarving altar (a portuguese technique to decorate woodwork with gold leaves), beautiful “azulejo” (tiles) panels with biblical scenes, the dome with colorful paintings, pictures and graven images.
2. At the old winery turned off we´ll see the mill (a concrete vessel used for treading grapes by foot) and the remains of an old press. Today they cultivate only the grapes on the farm. The wines are produced elsewhere, while respecting the traditional manufacturing process, which including six months in oak barrels. The harvest at Quinta das Carrafouchas fill up about 12 thousand bottles per year, available only in bars, restaurants and gourmet shops. Their wines have been awarded with gold and silver medals in international competitions. In only 4 hectares of vineyards are planted the vines of Touriga Nacional, Aragonês and Arinto. The soil is sandy loam, the weather is Mediterranean with Atlantic influence. The red wine varieties usually give an intense red nectar, robust but at the same time elegant, floral aroma with mature fruits and resinous woods. The white is 13 degrees, good acidity, intensely fruity and citrus aroma, very fresh.
3. We go then to Bucelas, to the wine shop Caves Velhas (means Old Caves), where we´ll taste the famous sparkling Arinto Bucelas, after we take a look at the old wooden barrels cellars. Caves Velhas are a family business since 1881. Today, they belong to a large wine company with wineries throughout the country - Enoport- , which keeps the knowledge and the art of making wine from Arinto grapes, in classic white - internationally awarded - and sparkling versions. All production is now done in a modern industry not far from Bucelas. The old facilities are just a place to visit and a stage location for one of the wines.
4. Bucelas mineralized soil is composed of hard limestones and marls. The climate is hot and dry in summer, but with enough moisture by night. Winters are cold and rainy. This provides a favorable microclimate, and a good balance between acidity and sugars. The main cultivated variety is the Arinto, a portuguese variety that yields a wine classified as VQPRD (Quality Wine Produced in a Demarcated Region). This wine was produced here by the Romans for more than 2000 years, latter it was much appreciated at the English court of Elizabeth I, and was mentioned by Shakespeare in the book " Henry VI " (1554). It was later taken to the English court by the Duke of Wellington, in the XIXth century, during the Napoleonic invasions. The british Prince Regent George III loved this wine, considering until it had medicinal powers. It was also indispensable at the cellar of US President Thomas Jefersson in 1800.
5. After lunch, we go to Óbidos. Ancient village surrounded by city walls, with a castle, century-old homes of all ages and several churches with magnificent decorations. Voted one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, is classified as a national monument. Has remains of Lusitanian buildings (century IV a.C), Roman (century I), Visigoths (century V to VI), Moorish (century VIII), Gothic (century XI- XVI), Renaissance (century XV- XVI) and Baroque (century XVIII). Was taken from the Moors in 1148, in the reign of D. Sancho I, and was part of the dowry of several queens of Portugal from the XV- XVIIIth century. We´ll go through its lined cobblestone streets, enjoy the houses, the windows decorated with flowers and visit their churches. At Rua Direita (the main street) there are several shops with craftsmanship quality. Here we´ll taste a Ginginha of Óbidos, a typical liquor, before returning to Lisbon.