Text Patrícia Leite
In the Portuguese wine map, the parish of Marialva is divided between the Douro region and the Beira Interior region. And it is in the heart of this beautiful Historic Village, of great strategic importance in the dawn of nationality, that we find Casas do Côro, a country houses unit, wine hotel and eco-friendly Spa.
On the arrival to Casas do Côro we immediately realize how this wine tourism unit breathes history, tranquility and respect for nature, in a single concept that results from a huge passion for the land and for well-hosting by the owners Cármen and Paulo Romão.
The project started 14 years ago with the simple idea of recovering the first of the houses – Casa do Côro – which became the main house of this tourism project of excellence. This house is like a small hotel, the only one that is not rented as a whole, and has four double rooms, one single room and a junior suite. There we also find a magnificent dining area accompanied by a cozy living room.
In addition to the main house, there are other eight houses in total respect for the regional architectural style, with walls in granite, shale and wood of chestnut tree and pine.
You can also enjoy the magnificent outdoor space surrounding each one of the houses, as well as the gardens and the pool, perfect for a walk, relaxing or even for a moonlight dinner on warm summer evenings.
In perfect harmony with nature, we can also find the eco-sustainable suite of Bogalhais: a design space surrounded by oak trees and kermes oaks, with a sweeping view over Marialva.
Casas do Coro currently have 24 rooms, but with the investments already made and now at the final stage, the accommodation of this unit will have in July 2014 a total of 31 rooms of 6 different types and an eco-friendly Spa.
In this wine tourism unit we can also experience, of course, the tradition of gastronomy and wine in a warm and refined atmosphere. In fact, offering gastronomy of excellence is also a bid of Casas do Coro, of Cármen Romão’s responsibility. And much of what is served in everyday meals is produced in the unit and everything else is bought nearby: bread baked in a wood oven, jams, honey, natural juices of seasonal fruits from the organic garden, ripened cheese, cottage cheese, sausage and loin, home grown eggs, cakes, among others products.
In 2008, Casas do Côro started their wine business by the hand of the friend Dirk Niepoort. First, they started buying grapes from Marialva’s producers, but then they decided to grow their own grapes and started planting vines. The “Casas do Côro” wines come from the two wine regions that “divide” Marialva: from Douro (Rosé, White Reserva and Red Grande Reserva) and from Beira Interior (White, Red and Red Reserva). Dirk Niepoort is the winemaker of Douro Rosé and White Reserva and Rui Reboredo Madeira the maker of Beira Interior White, Red and Red Reserva and Douro Red Grande Reserva.
Apart from finding wines selected by Paulo Romão at “Loja do Côro” shop, wine enthusiasts still have the opportunity to enjoy wine experiences with the various programs offered by this wine tourism unit: “Casas do Côro & Gourmet & Wine Experience, “Casas do Côro & Oporto Ramos Pinto Experience”, “Casas do Côro & Wine & Train Tour Experience” e “Casas do Côro & Douro Boat & Ervamoira Museum”.
In these 3 day programs, we can enjoy wine tastings, visits to wine estates and cellars, moments of gastronomic tasting and evening walking tours and visits to the Historical and Architectural Heritage of Marialva.
According to Paulo Romão and his wife Carmen, much more than a hotel, Casas do Coro means “love, family, culture, history, heritage and land”. To me, it’s a true (de)light of Marialva!