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June 6, 2017
Text and photos by Maria Helena Matos
I received an invitation from Turismo do Porto! An invitation to visit the Quinta de Santa Cristina in Celorico de Basto. The reason?
Original stone tank (lagar) at Quinta de Santa Cristina Winery
Quinta de Santa Cristina was honored with the Best Of Wine Tourism award in the category Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.
I was curious and decided to accept. And that's what I did best!
I met Monica Pinto, the daughter of the Winery owners, who embraced the parents' project and turned it into the wine tourism that it is today. Only an hour away from Porto and Celorico de Basto, the land where Minho changes color!
The day was especially hot and ideal for a visit to the countryside, along with its wine and good people!
Reception with Sparkling Wine Rosé Bruto Quinta de Santa Cristina
Waiting for us was Liliana Pereira, responsible for the Quinta's wine tourism, who welcomed us with a big smile and a cold sparkling rosé vinho verde Quinta Santa Cristina! Loved it! I was in good hands!
The heat was getting worse so we hit the road. When Liliana handed me some weird tool, I asked what was it for. To plant! I was astonished, I was going to plant my own grapevine.
The soil had already been prepared and a small hole was ready to place the grapevine. With a rootstock I held onto the lower part of the Sauvignon Blanc vine and planted it. Soon it can be harvested!
To feel the soil between my fingers, to feel the hot and humid scents it was like I was feeling the life of the grapevine in my hands. It was a very rewarding experience!
After planting, I went to see the vineyards.
Here, the famous Alvarinho grows, a grape variety of vinho verde very appreciated for its uniqueness and fullness.
From the wine varieties Avesso, Trajadura, Loureiro and Arinto for white vinho verde, Vinhão for red vinho verde to the almost forgotten and abandoned wine variety Batoca, they are all there. But, these details, the friendly Liliana can explain it better than I can!
We continue our walk through the vineyards still bare, to find a great surprise: the orchard! Where one can pick fruit from trees and eat them straight off!
This is where the delicious picnics take place, with regional products such as codfish, alheira, ham, cornbread, cheeses, jams and regional pastries, paired with Quinta de Santa Cristina wines. After lunch, the afternoon snack is guaranteed as we have pomegranates, oranges, pears, apples, cherries, figs and persimmons. Oh, delicious!
Quinta de Santa Cristina: White Vinho Verde Escolha, Rosé Vinho Verde and Alvarinho-Trajadura Vinho Verde
Next we went to the wine cellar. It was time to know how to make the wines of Quinta de Santa Cristina and taste the chilled Vinho Verde paired with the best delicacies!
The wine cellar is a modern structure and inside is peaceful (the bustle does not take long!). Everything is immaculately organized and clean. It is a pleasure to visit a place of heavy and hard labour that maintains its dignity at any time of the year.
Wine Cellar of Quinta de Santa Cristina
The surprises never ceased to please me. The view from the upper floor of the wine cellar is stunning. The mysterious nature shows us what Man has divided, here we are in the Minho region, we still have yet to discover the Trás-os-Montes region. It will surely be magical!
Vineyards of Alvarinho in Quinta de Santa Cristina
And it is the case of the Quinta de Santa Cristina that is surrounded by the mountains of Fafe, Marão, Alvão and Cabreira and the right bank of the River Tâmega. Simply Magical!
November to March: 10h-16h
April to October: 10h-18h
Information and reservations:
Tel: +351 912 527 396