Once Upon a time…. there was Quinta da Alorna. With almost 300 years of wine production in the Tejo region, this is a reference in Portuguese wines
The story begins in 1723 with the construction of the palace by the hands of D. Pedro de Almeida Portugal – 1st Marquis of Alorna – and soon followed the plantation of the first vineyards on the estate, just a few meters away from the river Tagus.
Currently, Quinta da Alorna is managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Lopo de Carvalho family and making known its own history is one of its main objectives.
Although we are already in the 21st century, upon arriving at Quinta da Alorna, the imposing iron gate and the long granite wall make us feel at once that there is a long history in this place.
It was while we walked along the clouded alley of sycamore trees, with the palace showing up in the background, that Márcia told me everything about Quinta da Alorna.
Leonor de Almeida Lorena and Lencastre – the legendary Marquesa de Alorna – a great benefactor and a woman far ahead of her time, also owned this farm. She made history in Portuguese poetry, writing and publishing lyrical works at a time when women were prohibited from publishing their own literary works.
Thus, she had the opportunity to study and attend European literary salons, where she met great figures of literature and culture. Endowed with great freedom of thought, she was also known for her talent for drawing and painting, always behind the pseudonym ‘Alcipe’.
For all these reasons, Marquesa de Alorna is an ever present figure in every visit to this winery and still gives name to the top-of-the-range wine from the estate! But I’ll get there…..
Arriving in front of the palace, I had the privilege of being invited to enter the house. It is not open to the public – only for events or special events – because the current owners still spend many family moments inside the palace.
Although the palace can not be visited, its gardens are the main attraction of Quinta da Alorna and without doubt a place where you feel like stopping to enjoy the scenery and drink a glass of wine 😊
Grape production is undoubtedly the central activity of this Agricultural Society in the Tejo wine region. In total there are 554 acres of vineyard where it is planted Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante Bouschet, Arinto and Chardonnay among many other varieties.
But on the 6.900 hectares of farmland, there is also corn, potatoes, forest – where pine, cork oak and eucalyptus predominate – and an equestrian center.
This center is mainly dedicated to teaching and, although a partnership between Quinta da Alorna and the center that allows for example horseback riding is not yet developed, visits to wine tourism always include a passage through the riding arena where our Lusitano horse is the star!
And my visit ended where it began: in the wine shop. All the wines of the Alorna brand are sold here – including some rarities not easily found in other shops – and different regional products that pair perfectly with the wines. That’s what I did!
A table with the Quinta da Alorna white and red wines was prepared for me, along with Extra Virgin olive oil, a cheese and sausages platter and a basket of bread. This is the standard tasting and is already a delight!
But I went further and asked to taste the ex-libris of this winery: Marquesa de Alorna Grande Reserva white and red and I have to say that the Marquesa only has to be proud of this tribute that Quinta da Alorna pays to her!
Marquesa de Alorna Grande Reserva white – very aromatic on the nose and mouth full of peach and white plums aromas. The light wood gives it the structure needed make this a great wine to enjoy along with intense cheeses or even a good roasted codfish
Marquesa de Alorna Grande Reserva red – one of those wines that fills every corner of your mouth in each sip! It tastes like wild berries, spices, chocolate that persist in the mouth for long moments.
Something else you can not fail to taste is the Abafado 5 years. It is a fortified wine, in which to base must a brandy is added. So it maintains the sweetness of the grapes, with notes of honey and nuts, but with a high alcohol degree (17.5%). Perfect for finishing a meal, with desserts or cured cheeses.
Well, I believe I got the message across: that a visit to Quinta da Alorna is a history class and a delicious wine experience at the same time, so here is the challenge to visiting it soon!