S. João da Pesqueira county has got the greatest number of wine producers in the Douro valley.
And the small village of Ervedosa do Douro has got some of the most iconic among them.
It is where we can find Quinta da Gricha, with a wonderfull location, at about 400 meters high, and a superb view to the Douro river, passing by down there, majestic.
From there we can feel all the dimension of the river and the valley, it’s vines grouped throughout levels, that usually you can only reach on foot, giving us an idea of all the human work that was necessary to create them, to plant the vines and, till nowadays, to do the harvest.
Registrations of this estate date back to the XVIII century, the wine mills referenced in 1852, when Port wine production may have started.
In the XX century, now belonging to John Graham, it was in 2004 that they started also producing steel wines, always in the same wine mills. Modernizations were very small, preserving this secular tradition. Until they finally decided to recover the old house and use it to touristic purposes, so that all that capacity could be used for those that visit them. It is a small delux boutique hotel, with four bedrooms, remarkably well equipped, full of confort, and always with that superb view to the Douro valley landscape.
There are several living rooms, including a dinning room with an open kitchen, full equipped for the guests to use.
At the lower part of the house there still is the wine cellar with it’s beautiful granite wine mills, where the guests, during the harvest time, may share all that movement of grapes coming in, treading the grapes, where they can literally “put the feet” in the wine mills, a unique experience.
In another building there is a traditional kitchen very well restored, with a firewood oven, a delicious long table with traditional seats, where you can taste meals with several dishes from that region, prepared by someone who knows. Those meals may also be served below, in a magnificent and sunny orange tree grove, always with the company of that landscape. Further below is a refreshing swimming pool, surrounded by lawn, pretty much demanded in the hot afternoons, very hot, in Douro.
During the day there is a lot to do, in tours throughout the estate, enjoying the work in the vines, knowing so many corners in those levels with many solar exibitions, those xist soils, poor, rough, where the vines have adapted themselves through the centuries, with the help of the work of the Douro men, with commitment and art. There are vegetables and many aromatic herbs, all of them used in delicious meals. There are also many wild plants on the hills, rock rose, lavender, heather, rosemary, that lend their scent to the air that we breathe, for our great pleasure.
There is also the possibility to tour through the vine and the hill, in proper car or even by boat, to enjoy all the beauty of the river and its riversides.
But this landscape also invites you to rest, and that may be achieved in certain outside places or in the quietness of the house confort.
It is always a great pleasure to enjoy that silence, that peace, all that beauty. Like Miguel Torga said, “… sometimes, it seams an excess of nature!”
During the warm nights, an incredible porch, overlooking the estate, with a 180 degrees view, is used to share the last Port wine glass of the night, in contemplation.
In the morning, it is also there that breakfast ir served, with natural products of the estate, orange juice from oranges just picked up from the tree, jam and cake home maid, fresh bread. We end with wonderful coffee, while the river greets us, passing by.
It seams like Douro river comes inside…
Text by José Silva (https://bomborapt.wordpress.com/quem-sou/)
Photos by Quinta da Gricha; António Barros