Grampa Pôpa dreamed, his son Zeca materialized and their children gave wings to this much-desired wine project in the Douro!

 

To get to Quinta do Pôpa it is important to have a car. Some estates in Douro are accessible by train, but this is not the case here. Which is not necessarily bad, as I had the privilege of driving on the famous N-222 road, considered in 2015 the World’s most beautiful road 😊

It extends from Pinhão to Régua along the river Douro and from the historic vineyards planted in terraces. I’d say it’s movie setting! With good music playing on the radio and a special company sitting on the passenger side, this ride makes us feel lucky!

I felt the Pôpa spirit from the moment I crossed the gate and began to climb the road lined with vineyards. “Do not feed the vineyards” or “Respect: old vines snoring” were signs that made me laugh along the climb.

But the best was when I finally got to the top and realized what I had always been told about the impressive view of Quinta do Pôpa:

Vanessa welcomed us with a mix of Alentejo, Bairrada and Porto hospitality. She says it is difficult to identify herself as she has passed through different cities, different houses and concentrates the best of each one of them.

And we were still overlooking this landscape when Vanessa told me how it all began. Pôpa (= Pompadour), as in the region affectionately treated Mr. Ferreira, was the grandfather of Vanessa and Stéphane. Always upright and impeccably combed, his grandfather dreamed one day to have his own piece of Douro. This dream was transferred to the son who eventually materialized in 2003, with the purchase of the “quinta” in Tabuaço.

What started out as a homemade and unpretentious wine production, quickly grew! Sponsored by Luis Pato – an experienced winemaker, family friend, who believed in the potential of the wines of this farm – in 2010 the next generation turns Quinta do Pôpa into one of the most recent success stories in the Douro!

The visit continued to the wine cellar, with an interesting explanation of the whole process for those who visit a winery for the first time. Here’s where they transform all of the grapes coming from the 35 acres of vineyard, including vines about 86 years old (respect!).

In the barrel room I discovered something more about the Ferreira brother and sister: their collection of clocks and their relationship with Time. In Pôpa everything has its timing, no hurries. As much as ideas boil in the creative minds of Vanessa and Stéphane, one has to wait for the right moment to make them happen.

   

Still below ground, I entered the library, a room where are kept copies of all the wines produced on the farm. One of the walls of this “vault” is of crude shale, the same shale in which the vineyards of the Douro are planted and, with an inexplicable force, breaking it with their roots and fighting for life for many years!


In the museum room – also excavated in the shale – I found some agricultural artifacts that explain the harshness of viticulture in the Douro that, despite the many advances, remains a great challenge for producers vintage after vintage.

As usual, the visit ended up with a wine tasting on the terrace outside. Vanessa’s suggestion was white and red Black Edition, wines produced mostly from the old vines with minimal use of oak, which express the great potential of this terroir.

Black Edition white – Arinto stands out among the several other grape varieties of the old vineyard. The maturity of the grapes attributes to the wine citrus aromas, but with a good creaminess in the mouth. Very light and discreet oak. A delicious wine that pairs perfectly with buttery cheeses.

Black Edition red – on the nose it seemed to me a shy and fruity wine, light oak. But after a few minutes it evolved and in the mouth it proved to be very elegant elegant, with cherry and mint flavors. An excellent wine: honest, genuine and straight forward (a bit like me, I guess!)

And it was actually the Black Edition red that I chose to join me in the amazing picnic that Quinta do Pôpa team prepared for me. A straw basket filled with delicious things: cheese and cold cuts platter, olives and olive oil, chorizo and quince paste, prawn rissoles and cod fritters, homemade meat bread ….. yummy !!!

And there I sat on the grass in the late afternoon, eating, drinking and enjoying the view of the Douro River. What more could I ask for? 😉