Will there be many places where you can have a picnic in the shade of an ancient olive tree? At Morgado do Quintão it is possible and it’s unforgettable!
Lately, I have been committed to discovering more of the wines of the Algarve and to prove that this region also has a lot and good wine tourism.
Morgado do Quintão was on my list for a long time and I finally got to know this place that I heard so much about. Initially driven by the mysterious labels, then by the comments of those who tasted the wines and finally, the opportunity to take a few days of vacation in the Algarve (something I hadn’t done for a good 15 years!)
This place has already two hundred years of history, since it belonged to the Count of Silves – which at that time was the capital of the Algarve. Conde de Silves was passionate about Algarve wine so he planted the first Morgado do Quintão vineyards.
Since then it has always belonged to the Caldas de Vasconcelos family. Teresa Caldas de Vasconcelos – mother of the current owner – was responsible for continuing the native varieties already in production. A woman determined to maintain the region’s legacy, contrary to all the recommendations she heard to re-graft into other varieties, including international ones. She refused to do that because she is a lover of the Algarve and what is genuine in this region!
After Teresa’s death, it was her son Filipe who embraced the family project and in five years turned Morgado do Quintão in what it is today. The vineyards already planted on the farm have been recovered – some over 65 years old! – in completely organic and rainfed mode (without irrigation)
The 13 hectares of vineyards are planted between the sea and the Monchique mountains, where a light wind always blows, even if the days are very hot. Only three grape varieties are planted here: Negra Mole, Castelão and Crato Branco (also called Roupeiro in other regions).
Filipe has been counting on a precious help from Duarte, who since the renovation of the farm, has dedicated himself to Morgado do Quintão as being also his. It was Duarte who hosted us and told us all the details of this estate.
Underneath an impressive two thousand years old olive tree, a table full of cheeses, sausages, cold salads, bread, olive oil and of course wine, was waiting for us!
We tasted 6 out of the 7 wines that make up the Morgado do Quintão range. We started with white Crato Branco – with the white label – followed by Clarete Negra Mole – because it is a red with little color and has a blue label – and Palhete, which blends white and red grapes, has a blue and white striped label! Simple and beautiful 😊
As for Castelão wine, the label displays a beautiful piece of art by Teresa Caldas de Vasconcelos, who besides being an agricultural entrepreneur by family heritage, was also a talented artist and university professor of art and art history.
I loved Palhete wine but I confess that I was fascinated with the Negra Mole grape, native to the Algarve. Negra Mole is a grape with little color, whoever looks at it still in the vineyard would say that it does not pass the “veraison” phase – phase in which both white and red grapes go from green to mature and change to their final colors.
Personally, I found Negra Mole very similar to Pinot Noir, but of course better! The little color of the grape makes wines with little concentration but still very aromatic and fruity, which tastes good to drink cold by the pool!
WHERE TO STAY…
The old granaries and warehouses of the farm were also renovated and transformed into tasting rooms, dinning rooms and local accommodation.
Despite having rooms prepared for visitors, – fortunately for Morgado do Quintão but unfortunately for me – they were all busy! So I ended up staying very close, in Carvoeiro in Vale da Lapa Village Resort in a villa kindly offered by Details hotels.
The resort opened a few years ago, but only in 2020 there was a handover to Details hotels group that has been transforming this place into the perfect place to spend holidays this year!
Yes, in a year in which we are all looking for privacy, safety and want to be away from the crowds, Vale da Lapa Village Resort is composed of different family villas, some with a private pool. And lucky me, this was the one I got!
Meals were all ordered from the restaurant over the phone and delivered at home – breakfast, lunch and dinner. But in case you prefer to cook your own meals at the apartment’s kitchen, you can always stop by the Vale da Lapa grocery store and find all the ingredients in addition to products for daily use, which we often forget to pack for the holidays.
And as if spending the afternoons by the pool wasn’t relaxing enough, Vale da Lapa has a Spa and health club. At Spa Wellness Details, all products are from the brand SCENS totally vegan. I did a facial cleansing and a back massage that felt just amazing!
In addition to wine tourism there is much more to do in the Algarve than to spend the whole day lying on the sand soaking up the sun! I suggest two other activities:
- Cruising the caves with Royal Nautic – this boat tour lasts about 3 hours. The early departure is at 6 am. Yes, it is really hard to wake up so early but it’s definitely worth it! In addition to watching the sunrise at sea, at that time you can have all the caves just for you, including the postcard of the Algarve – the Benagil cave. But there are many other caves less famous but even more beautiful such as the Heart or the Swallow’s Nest caves.
- Stand Up Paddle with I Love Sup – I recommend this activity to the more adventurous ones who like working out. Stand Up Paddle is a challenge in the first minutes but from the moment you master the technique it is great fun and an excellent way to explore the most hidden caves on the coast! And the best part? It is an environmentally friendly activity.
Let me tell you something important: either in the boat and in the stand up paddle the current safety and hygiene measures are being complied with by both companies. All material is disinfected and masks are used whenever necessary.
ENJOY YOUR VACATIONS!! 😊