Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne
In a small estate in Minho that dates back to 1710, Pedro Araújo, great-grandson to Adriano Ramos Pinto, has been developing a project for the production of white wines in the valley of Lima river, which has been building a reputation for higher-quality wines.
Thanks to a unique terroir, in a property that includes banks on the river Lima, with excellent grounds and an excellent exposure to the sun, he has been developing vineyards on this land, which are mostly of the region’s ruling grape variety, Loureiro. It even included some Arinto variety, which was bottled in 2005, but the motorway that links Ponte de Lima to Arcos de Valdevez cut off those vines. He has also been planting a few other vines and will soon replant a little Arinto. In total, he owns 30 hectares of vines, 12 of which are biologically produced.
The first Ameal Loureiro was made in 1999, and in 2000, the Ameal Escolha emerges, which was the first Loureiro to be fermented and to have aged in a cask.
Later, in 2002, he produced his first sparkling wine, which was only launched in 2009, and in 2006, he produced another sparkling wine that will only be released in 2016 after having aged for 10 years.
In 2007, the first Special Harvest emerged, a late harvest that only filled 700 half-bottles. It was produced, once again, in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and there is an expected production for 2015.
Closing the circle of new products, in 2011, it was time for the first Ameal Solo, which is a natural wine, after 10 years of biologic agriculture. A tribute to the grounds and to the life in them. It was launched in 2013, and was reproduced in 2014, already in the market, and it’s another wine to quickly run out. Quinta do Ameal, produce about 60,000 bottles of wine a year, exports them to 15 countries, among which is Australia. Pedro Araújo has successfully brought them to renowned restaurants, some with Michelin stars, the result of a very complex job that includes many trips to several countries, to markets, and to festivals. The wines from Quinta do Ameal are white, with a very characteristic profile, with fruit, but not too exuberant; complex and iconic wines with excellent acidity and enormous minerality, captivating wines that captivate you and that you look forward to having. Although these are white wines produced in green-wine region, that does not make them strictly hot-weather wines; much on the contrary. They are gastronomic wines that can be enjoyed in the summer, at a very cool temperature, but which are also nice in the winter, for example, with seafood, oven-roast fish, and even a decent meal of codfish. Pedro Araújo knows well hot to transmit it, how to get it on the market.
He has recently decided to invest in rural tourism, having enhanced the estate’s natural beauty and having restaured many houses of many sizes.
Every house has an en-suite, especially the biggest one, which includes three, and a huge living room that is also used to serve breakfasts and several other meals, as well as wine tastings. Every house offers free powerful wi-fi, and interestingly, they also allow access to many radio channels from around the world, with a choice of music genre for every taste.
The homes have refined details, based on many materials from the estate itself, from fallen or chopped-down trees, even old doors and gates, which are now used for a different purpose, and in extremely good taste.
The comfort factor will always be there, all about. When possible, the breakfasts include natural products from the estate.
With capacity for 11 people, you can take a stroll round the property, about the vineyards or along the river, and there is even a pathway that connects the estate to Ponte de Lima, a few miles away.
The pool is very popular when the weather is good, where you can enjoy some appetisers and cool drinks, which include the estate’s wines. Entire meals of various types can be ordered in advance.
Pedro Araújo has created a modern hotel unit for wine tourism in the middle of Minho.
Quinta do Ameal – SOC. AGR. S.A.
4990 – 707 Refóios do Lima Ponte do Lima
Mobile: (+351) 916 907 016
Tel: (+351) 258 947 172
Fax: (+351) 258 947 172