The Quinta dos Castelares estate is located in Freixo de Espada à Cinta, in the Upper Douro, bordered by the Natural Park. In our production methods, we strive to preserve ancient cultivation techniques combined with the most recent developments in winemaking, which leads to greater sustainability and respect for the environment. The low degree of mechanisation – grapes are hand-picked into small crates – and the low yields per hectare are proof of that. In the numerous vineyards that make up the estate, we use each locations characteristics to the greatest advantage. At the Vinha do Almirante vineyard, the vines are more than 40 years old, planted under the guidance of Gastão Taborda with the main Douro grape varieties, namely Touriga Nacional, which enhances the quality of Quinta dos Castelares wines. This vineyards age and altitude imbue our wines with great elegance. In the Congida vineyard, on the Douros riverbank, where grapes attain greater ripeness, we have planted only red varieties, which provide body and structure. At Quinta de Castelares, we make the most of the differences in altitudes and sun exposure. Our white grape varieties are planted in the higher and cooler areas, facing North/Northeast. This combination produces elegance and complexity.
Even today, our vineyards still benefit from Gastão Tabordas extraordinary lifework, an «unsung hero» in Douro winemaking whose research was crucial to building the modern Douro.
Precursor of the current Centro de Estudos Vitivinícolas do Douro (Douro Centre for Winemaking Studies), it was in Freixo de Espada à Cinta (his birthplace) that he most applied his knowledge, dedicating his entire life to studying our «terroir», where he was a pioneer in the discovery and dissemination of the great potential of the Touriga Nacional variety, thereby avoiding its extinction in the Douro.
The Upper Douro wine region is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. It was established in 1756 to protect the quality of its wines and certify their origin, and was a forerunner of the Designations of Origin we know today. In 2001 it became the first wine region in the world to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hot and dry Mediterranean microclimate combines harsh winters with very hot summers, with little precipitation. In this respect, the Upper Douro is one of the driest areas in Portugal. The soil is mainly schist and, in the case of our vineyards, very stony.
Dubbed «Portugals Manueline Town», Freixo de Espada à Cinta is located by the Spanish border, overlooking the Douro River.
A land of myths and legends, the landscape is dominated by vineyards and olive groves, and every year nature offers the breathtaking spectacle of the almond trees in bloom.
Framed by the Douro River, it lies within the Douro International Natural Park, where protected species such as the Bonnelli Eagle and the Egyptian Vulture find refuge in this hot, dry, continental Mediterranean climate. Manueline architecture dominates the towns historic centre, almost always alluding to the Age of Discovery because, although we are well inland, this is the birthplace of several navigators who helped Portugal bring the world new worlds.
This legacy of our collective history served as inspiration for our labels.