Conde de Oeiras – mostly known as Marquês de Pombal – was a great lover and promoter of Carcavelos wines
I’ve known Carcavelos wine for a few years and that’s why I thought its existence was well known. But when a friend told me that she had never heard of such a wine – and I realized that she was not the only one – I thought it was time to learn more to write to you! Call it public service 😊
And for that I visited the National Agronomic Station (Estação Agronómica Nacional- EAN) in Oeiras, more specifically at Quinta do Marquês de Pombal. In this 17th century farmstead, where the Marquis himself used to produce his own wine, today there are 30 acres of vineyards with a privileged view of the sea.
Carcavelos wine is one of the 4 fortified wines in Portugal – alongside Porto, Madeira and Moscatel – produced within the Lisboa wine region, one of the oldest in the country, and also the smallest (with a total of 61 acres of vines).
Its production decreased when buildings were “planted” instead of vines and thus increased the discouragement of producers in the region. But everything changed when, in 1997, the Municipality of Oeiras, in partnership with EAN, decided to recover and preserve this heritage, continuing to produce this historic wine!
Today, the Casal da Manteiga cellar – the former sheep corral on the farm – is fully equipped and able to produce around eighty thousand bottles per year, a large part destined for export to countries like Brazil, England and Spain.
In the tower of this former corral, where Count Oeiras used to rest after hunting, a tasting room was created with a 360º view of Oeiras villa, the sea and of course, the vineyards!
A little further down and closer to the sea is the Palace of the Marquis.
The Oeiras Municipality is today the owner of this palace, and since 2003 it has opened its doors to visitors who – in addition to being able to stroll through the extraordinary gardens – can also visit the interior of the palace and the valuable pieces of art that fill it.
I visited only in the old cellar – all renovated in 2013 – located on the underground floor, next to the old cistern that guarantees the humidity of the room, so that the oak barrels rest in ideal conditions.
It was among barrels that I tasted the incomparable “Villa Oeiras” 15 years, currently the biggest and most sold wine brand in Carcavelos region.
Produced from classic grape varieties of the region – Galego Dourado, Boal, Ratinho and Arinto – I tell you that it is one of the most special wines I have ever drank!
Having been aged for 15 years in oak barrels, it has become a topaz color and has become a semi-dry and very aromatic wine. Its flavor reveals at the same time the sweetness of honey and nuts and the acidity of the orange peel, which lingers in the mouth for long moments!
In addition to many other unique characteristics, this wine is also aged in Portuguese oak barrels 😊
Now you know: Carcavelos Wine is a historic wine in Portugal and one of the ex-libris of Oeiras. Just spend an afternoon in Oeiras and like me, you will become a fan!