The search for perfection
Perfection lies in the detail. That is the case of Quinta do Ameal, located in the heart of the Lima Valley, a magical spot in the Minho that has been featured in the works of poets and writers since the beginning of Portuguese literature. Dating back to the 18th century, today it produces excellent organic white wines.
The owner, Pedro Araújo, is a great-grandson of the founder of the prestigious Casa Ramos Pinto and he has a deep-seated passion for his job. To him, a great wine must always express “a sense of place.” His aim has thus been “to produce unique ‘terroir’ wines with great personality and character and develop a new concept, also created here: terroir tourism.”
It all started when Pedro Araújo decided, against much advice to the contrary, to produce white wines from the Loureiro grape variety. Until then, this variety had been used for wines produced in bulk, because they were not thought to last long. The Quinta do Ameal team proved this idea to be quite wrong. Instead, these wines were found to have an excellent potential for aging, and even developed, from their fourth or fifth year, aromatic characteristics quite similar to others of the same age, such as the Alsace Rieslings and the Australian Semillons from Hunter Valley.
Thanks to Pedro Araújo’s continued search for perfection, Quinta do Ameal’s wines are currently exported to over twenty countries. They are included in the wine lists of renowned restaurants around the world, distinguished with the highly prestigious Michelin stars, as well as in the best wine shops worldwide.
Others will follow, because the purpose is to explore this wonderful grape variety, as never before, always aiming at the excellence and the distinction it deserves.
But this is not the only reason to visit Quinta do Ameal, close to Ponte de Lima. In 2014, a new project was launched at the property: the Ameal Wine & Terroir Tourism. Its philosophy goes hand in hand with the production of organic wine: to create sustainable tourism that respects nature.
Guided by these principles, old farm buildings have been restored which offer visitors the possibility to stay in houses that, elegant in their simplicity, are totally equipped and in harmony with the surrounding landscape. The sophistication of small details makes the difference and creates simple and organic luxury.
The estate is set within granite walls encompassing 30ha, half of which are planted with fully organic vines. On the remaining land, the property has welcoming gardens in which, during spring, wisterias are the absolute highlight. There are also oak and pine forests, with some trees being more than 200 years old.
The Quinta borders the River Lima for 800m and the mountain range seen from here enhances the magnificent setting of this Minho paradise. It is a wonderful starting point for the discovery of the secrets held in neighboring ancient towns and medieval villages; for taking long mountain walks; or simply enjoying the region’s cuisine.
The Portuguese writer Fialho de Almeida called the region an “open window, through which all the freshness of the forest fills my chest with the breath of well-being… What clarity in this golden sunlight! Oh! What perfume brought from the woods on the mountain breeze in the webbed veil of mist! My beloved Portuguese land, how I kiss your fresh balsamic mouth of resins and flowers”.