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Marquês wine 24 Apr '19

I am back to Cascais, after vacations in Algarve. And I found myself thinking that the influence of ports wines is felt here too, not only in Algarve.

Last week I wrote that wines from Algarve were used for port wine. In Cascais, for many years, the only wines that are still produced here today, also headed north to go to England, along with port wine, to supply the British comrades' good taste.

The Carcavelos region is famous for long time now. In the XIV century there are real references regarding "the well taken care vineyards of Oeyras." And in the XVIII century, Count of Oeiras, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, also known as Marquês de Pombal - that as we know, was quite astute - had at his house, on Quinta da Cima, vineyards planted to produce this wine, transforming it in a prestige product that was known in the elites of Europe and that was even offered by King D. José I to the court of Beijing.

The production reached 3.000 barrels (about 1.650.000 liters). Today, the 20 hectares produce around 60 tons of grapes, divided among Quinta de Cima – most of the grapes - and Quinta da Ribeira de Caparide, Quinta dos Pesos and Quinta da Samarra, in Carcavelos. The calcareous soils,  the proximity to the sea and the influence of humidity is softened by the wind that blows in Cascais – “Pai do Vento” is here -  guarantee, together with the specific varieties of the region, a unique character to the wines of Carcavelos.

Unfortunately there is little of these wines, because otherwise they would easily became famous again. These are fortified wines, with good freshness and capable to aging for dozens, even hundreds of years, getting better with time. There are already signs from both City Halls, of Cascais and Oeiras, of the will to revive such special wine that was swallowed by the pressure of the concrete. But I know that, soon, there will be more wines again in this region.

*Father of the Wind - place in Alcabideche, Cascais.

Hélder Cunha
The wine’s my life