Text José Silva | Translation Bruno Ferreira
António Pinto is a successful businessman in the fields of electricity and electrical appliances who fell in love for the wine production in a family property in Celorico de Basto.
Supported by his wife and daughter he started making wine in 2004. Always with the collaboration of the oenologist Jorge Sousa Pinto that has extensive experience throughout the Vinho Verde region. The wine company is called Garantia das Quintas and its main brand is Quinta de Santa Cristina. The wines initially marketed were solely a white and a red, but quickly appeared more varieties, both by the producer’s and oenologist’s will and by the market request. And it wasn’t before long that the sparkling wine appeared, which is today a reference in the region. In 2013 they moved forward with the construction of a new winery right next to the residence that they have there and pratically in the middle of the vineyards with the Senhora da Graça hill flanking.
It could not be prettier! In a recent visit to the new winery we were able to experience its enormous functionality alongside a nice aesthetic, lacking only a tasting room that will surely have soon.
In addition to the latest technologies, including the cold, they also constructed a granite lagar where some of the wines are still foot treaded, maintaing the tradition.
The grapes come from the 40 hectares of vineyards, most of which in its surroundings but at different altitudes producing several grape varieties of the region such as Alvarinho, Arinto, Avesso, Azal, Trajadura and the curious and unique Batoca, the only one producing it. But we’ll get into that later.
After visiting the modern winery and glimpsing the immense vineyard around, the producer invited the visitors to follow him to a restaurant of the region, “Sabores da Quinta”. Over there the producer, his daughter, the oenologist and the viticulturist guided us on a journey through the main wines while making interesting connections with the food, a very didactic tasting. After all, the wine is meant to accompany the food!
We started off with the base wine from 2015 composed of Arinto, Azal, Loureiro and Trajadura. Simple, very fresh and easy drinking. Quite fresh.
Then came the Alvarinho Trajadura 2015, a combination of two varieties that are already used to one another. A wine full of fruit but without exaggeration, fresh and well-balanced acidity, very gastronomic and a good match for the snacks that started coming to the table.
Ham, alheira, black-eyed peas salad, cod’s “pataniscas”, “feijoada” and liver cooked in onions also connected very well with the interesting Alvarinho Loureiro, showing the best of both grape varieties. Fresh, somewhat floral and tropical, excellent acidity, a surprising connection.
Then it was time for the Alvarinho, one of this producer’s classics. A wine full of elegance, thin, with slightly fruity and tropical notes, bulky with a long finish.
Another wine matching very well with the snacks, but also with the roasted cod in the oven with roasted potatoes and plenty of olive oil that had arrived at the table in the meanwhile.
But the big surprise of the afternoon was a white wine made from a rare grape variety of this sub-region Basto, the Batoca. And this producer is its sole holder. The first bottling was from the 2015 vintage. Full of elegance, fruity on the nose and with some intensity, very balanced and fresh. A beautiful surprise.
We were already enjoying the roast beef in the oven with nuts and oven rice, when it was served the Santa Cristina white Reserva 2014 made with some of the Quinta’s varieties, of which were chosen the best, with slight wood aging.
Although it has some tropical it also features dried fruit, has a great structure, it’s very elegant in the mouth, silky with a great finish.
Before the desserts we tasted one of the Quinta’s sparklings, the Bruto white 2013 made with Arinto. With very thin bubble, showing itself very citric, full of freshness, with some toast in the mouth, elegant and seductive. A beautiful ending.
Outside, the Senhora da Graça hill continued superb…