In the Estates of Real Companhia Velha in the Douro

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This article, submitted by Viaje Comigo, was a participant in the 2015 Guest Bloggers Program sponsored by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.

Real Companhia Velha is one of the oldest wine companies in Portugal – it was founded by Royal Charter of King D. José I of Portugal, on the 10th September 1756.

The company owns five estates in the Douro Valley: Quinta das Carvalhas, Quinta do Casal da Granja, Quinta dos Aciprestes, Quinta do Cidrô e Quinta do Síbio - all of them different from each other, with very distinct characteristics to make Port and Douro wines. Viaje Comigo visited in loco the first four.

During the visit at Real Companhia Velha’s estates in the Douro, there were several special moments. Beside the tastings of dozens of flabbergasting wines, we visited the houses that constitute for part of the history of one of the biggest and most ancient wine companies in Portugal.   

One of those moments concerned the value of a wine and the harshness of the Douro soil. “40 years of wine means 40 years of harvest and 40 years of hard work”, words of Álvaro Martinho, Viticultural Manager at Quinta das Carvalhas.

Quinta das Carvalhas (Photo credit:  Real Companhia Velha)

“When you drink a 40 year old wine... you drink the people involved and the history of this land”, states Martinho.

We had the privilege –a group of wine bloggers and I – of tasting, in each estate, some of the best wines of Real Companhia Velha, harmonized with traditional home food. At the Casa Redonda (Quinta das Carvalhas) we enjoyed an amazing sunset, in which the sun hides behind the mountains with vineyards. The Douro charm is multifaceted.

Quinta das Carvalhas (Photo credit:  viajecomigo.com)

QUINTA DO CIDRÔ

We stayed overnight at the estate’s palace, acquired by the Real Companhia Velha, in 1972, surrounded by 140 hectares of vineyards (240 hectares total area). Located in São João da Pesqueira, Quinta do Cidrô has become an experimentation model vineyard in the region, with its vines planted vertically on a big scale (unusual for the region).

The first vineyards were planted in the early nineteenth century, along with the building of its palace, by initiative of its previous owner, the Marquis of Soveral. The vineyard is located at a altitudes between 450 and 600 meters.

At Cidrô’s palace we had a lovely dinner in which we tasted several wines: Quinta de Cidrô Alvarinho 2013, Quinta de Cidrô Semillon 2012, Quinta de Cidrô Pinot Noir 2009, Touriga Nacional 2012 and Cabernet Sauvignon & Touriga Nacional 2007; Quinta de Cidrô Chardonnay 1996; and Real Companhia Velha 40 year old Port wine.

Quinta do Cidrô (Photo credit:  viajecomigo.com)

QUINTA DO CASAL DA GRANJA

Quinta do Casal da Granja is located in Granja de Alijó, in the sub-region of the Cima Corgo, near the Estrada Nacional 322, between Favaios and Alijó.

It posseses 170 hectares of vineyard, planted at an altitude between 520 and 640 meters, benefitting the production of white wines.

The estate was acquired by the Real Companhia Velha in 1968. Prevailing varieties: Moscatel Galego, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Viosinho e Gouveio.

QUINTA DOS ACIPRESTES

Quinta dos Aciprestes is a cluster of three estates (Quinta da Boavista, Quinta dos Aciprestes and Quinta do Barreiro), some of them having been proprieties of D. Antónia A. Ferreira.

The original Quinta, was established in the eighteenth century by D. José de Seabra, one of Queen D. Maria I’s ministers, and ended up in the hands of the Queen’s predecessors, the Viscounts of Baía.

It extends for more than 2 kilometers over the left bank of Rio Douro, in the Tua area. Traditional vineyards represent 70 hectares, planted with the varieties Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão and Tinta Amarela. In the new vineyards we can find the following varieties: Touriga Nacional – 16 ha; Touriga Franca – 6,5 ha; Sousão – 3 ha; Tinta Amarela – 1 ha; and Tinta Roriz – 1 hectares.

QUINTA DAS CARVALHAS

Quinta das Carvalhas is situated on the left bank of the River Douro in Pinhão, and extends itself along the right bank of the influent river Torto.

The oldest written references regarding this estate go back to 1759 and its Old Vines, of post-phylloxera plantation, are reaching a century old.

Quinta das Carvalhas is 600 hectares, of which 120 hectares are vineyards, and it is the place to be looking to enjoy a 360 degrees view from its famous Casa Redonda (Round House) located at the top of the mountain, at an altitude of 550 meters.  

At Quinta das Carvalhas we had lunch, with a breath taking view over river Douro, where we tasted: Séries Real Companhia Velha Arinto branco 2012; Quinta dos Aciprestes tinto 2011, Grande Reserva tinto 2011 and Sousão Grande Reserva 2011; and Real Companhia Velha 20 year old Port wine. We also visited the store, near the entrance, with a view over the river and to Pinhão Village.

At night, we climbed the mountain and we reached Casa Redonda, where we tasted, through dinner the following wines: Carvalhas branco 2012; Carvalhas Tinta Francisca 2011; Carvalhas tinto 2012; Carvalhas branco 2010; and Quinta das Carvalhas Porto LBV 2010 and Vintage 1997.

In other meals, we tasted other wines such as Séries Real Companhia Velha Espumante 2011, Samarrinho 2013 and Rufete 2010; Grantom tinto 2001 and Evel Grande Escolha tinto 1999; and Grandjó Late Harvest 2008 and Real Companhia Velha Porto Colheita 1980.

Visits and tastings are available at the estate, as well as other activities such as bird watching and pick nicks – you can read all about it at Viaje Comigo.

Original blog post URL:  http://www.viajecomigo.com/2015/06/25/quintas-real-companhia-velha/