That evening we had dinner at Quinta do Ameal.
It is only a short drive from Paço de Calheiros to Ameal. We turned off the main road, drove down a dirt track deep into the Lima Valley, and then, through a dense forest with tall and ancient trees, got lost and finally ended up at one of the locked iron gates to the estate. PEDRO ARAÚJO led us to a beautifully restored old house which functioned as an office, and talked about Ameal.
Practically abandoned until the 1990s, Quinta do Ameal has been completely replanted and restored by Pedro. The 30 ha walled estate has 12 ha of organic vineyards, 8 ha of forest and an 800 metre of Lima river front. Wines are made exclusively from Loureiro and defying convention, are bottled in Bordeaux bottles. According to Richard Mayson (The Wines and Vineyards of Portugal) “Quinta do Ameal is one of the best expressions of Loureiro, with a fresh, green, grassy character that just hints at Riesling.”
Refurbishment of several old houses on the property was completed in May 2014 under the guidance of Pedro Araújo. They are now well equipped, luxurious self catering cottages, ideal for a tranquil stay at this wonderful property.
We sat in an elegant room in one of the cottages and drank Quinta do Ameal Loureiro from the 2015 vintage. The Loureiro is fermented and kept in temperature controlled stainless steel vats for six months, fined, filtered and bottled under inert gas. It has a classic floral nose and is crisp and long. (“It can age for 20 years” Pedro said). I gave it 16.5.
Pedro’s housekeeper, slim, young and attractive, quietly prepared dinner. We ate roast meats, vegetables and salads and drank Quinta do Ameal Solo 2014, made with minimal intervention (austere, mineral and pleasing – I gave it a score of 17) and two vintages of Quinta do Ameal Escolha – fermented and aged for six months in second use French oak hogsheads for six months. Only 4000 bottles of Ecolha are produced, and only in the best years. It is a lovely wine and I gave it 17.5.
As we said goodbye to Pedro and drove back to Paço de Calheiros late that night, many of us thought it would be nice to come back and spend a few days at Ameal.
Our visit to Quinta do Ameal was arranged by Mafalda Nicolau Almeida of Miles Away.
QUINTA DO AMEAL – SOC. AGR. S.A.
4990 – 707 Refóios do Lima Ponte do Lima – PORTUGAL
GPS: 41°47’19.9″N 8°31’32.6″W
Cell Phone: +351 916 907 016
Telephone: +351 258 947 172
Fax: +351 258 947 172