Quinta dos Vales Winery

Firstly I have not been into my blogging recently. Well, the last 7 months to be more precise. This coincides with the age of my first daughter, who is also 7 months old. Funny how that happens… I do promise to be more active from now on though.

I was able to get down to the Algarve for a little break recently. Here I visited the Quinta dos Vales winery once again to try some of the latest wines. It was quite pleasant there with the temperature in the low 20’s (centigrade), which is very acceptable to me in mid November. Although it is pretty quite in the Algarve at this time of year, it is a good chance to get a cheap hotel room and see the towns as fishing villages rather than tourist resorts.

At Quinta dos Vales there is the option of accommodation. Here you can stay in a villa amongst the vines, which is a very relaxing option in the peak season in the region. You will feel a world away from the resorts and packed beaches and bars. During the off season it is also a wonderful experience. Especially at this time of the year as the leaves on the vines are painting the landscape red, orange, yellow and brown.

Then of course you are in a winery. You have the wines to try! I have written about some of the Quinta dos Vales wines before. What took my interest this time around was not a “top of the range” wine. I was very interested in one of their entry level white wines. The 2010 Marquês dos Vales Primeira Selecção – Blanc do Noir. This is an unusual white wine. It is made from the Castelão grape variety. For those not familiar with the varietal, it is a red grape. As most of you will know, when you crush the majority of red grapes the juice is clear, the red colour comes from the contact with the skins, known as maceration. The exceptions are; Alicante Bouschet, Carmina, Deckrot, Dunkelfelder, Gamy Teiturier , Grand Noir de la Calmette, Kolor, Petit Bouschet, Pinot Teiturire, Royal 1390, Rubired, Salvador, Saperavi, Siebouschet and Sulmer. These red (or black) varieties also have red flesh so provide red juice. The most well know white wine from red gapes is probably Pinot Noir, but there is the option of making a white wine from most red varietals.

For this wine, the results have been very good. With white flower, pear and peach on the noise and a crisp fuity palate and a tangy dry finish it pairs very well with a wide range of simple sea food dishes – or simply to enjoy on a warm evening of the balcony or terrace. If you visit the winery it will probably be the first wine you taste, but do not forget about it when you come to making a selection on what to buy. They are many great wines to taste after this one, but at under €7 per bottle it is well worth taking a couple away with you.

So if you are planning your holidays for next year at the moment, or are looking at escaping the freezing temperatures where you are right now, the Quinta dos Vales winery is a great place to stay or visit.

By Chris Metcalfe

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