Apart from beautifully representing the grape varieties of the Vinho Verde region, Quinta de Santa Cristina is an example of innovation in wine tourism
I am a faithful follower of the Great Wine Capitals (GWC), a network of world capitals associated with wine whose main goal is to promote the wine regions through their cultural and tourist offerings. And it was actually through GWC that I first heard of Quinta de Santa Cristina, when in 2017 it won a prize in the category of Innovative Experiences in Wine Tourism.
It was found the excuse to go to Minho and pay them a visit!
This place owes its name to an Italian saint, curiously patroness of the millers. The chapel built to house its statue welcomes us right at the entrance of the cellar, but past the main gate nothing reminds us of saints or ancient times. On the contrary: this is one of the most modern wineries in the region of Vinho Verde.
Wine production on this farm began as a family hobby, but soon it became a serious affair, a business that grew from year to year. That is how, in 2014, the family built the current winery.
Liliana, whose in charge of the wine tourism of Quinta de Santa Cristina, led me to stroll among those beautiful, leafy vines, so characteristic of Vinho Verde, while telling me more about the vineyards planted in the 30 hectares around the cellar.
On that day it was just the two of us, so we were able to walk quietly through the farm. But Liliana takes the wine tourism very seriously, creating innumerable outdoor activities for all ages to explore the property. It is segway or jeep 4×4 tours, picnics in the vineyard, photographic walks, planting a single vine…
The wine cellar is huge, super modern and very well equipped. I visited in June, so all the equipment was impeccably clean, prepared to receive the grapes for the harvest season to come.
At the top of the cellar, a terrace surprised me with the view of the Marão mountain range: a landscape flooded with green, all shades of green, where the gracious vineyards keep company with native vegetation. The region name could not be more appropriate ….
In contrast, a mirror of blue water topped the balcony. So peaceful …..! I just wanted to stay there for the rest, no one would be able to convince me to leave. “Inside,” says Liliana, “we have wine to taste and good tidbits.” Thinking twice, there are many landscapes elsewhere… 😉
The shop and tasting room was a very lively and bright space, where the labels of the wines produced on the farm colored the walls.
Out of the 14 references available, I tasted white Alvarinho-Trajadura and Batoca. This last one is white grape I never heard of before but really liked! Intense aromas of tropical fruit at the beginning but a soft finish. And of course, I had to taste the good old red Vinhão, in a ceramic bowl, as it should be!
Few venture in this red wine, less known in the res of the country. It’s a wine, let’s say … special! You either love it or hate it. Personally, I love its intense taste, a little acidic, and the bright ruby color that will completely stain your tongue and teeth!!
Such intensity demanded food. A board of sausages and local cheeses served along with bread and jam, sound goo to you? Thank you, Liliana. Could not ask for more from Quinta de Santa Cristina!