Quinta da Pellada
and Quinta de Saes
Alvaro Castro is not only a seminal figure in Dao’s resurgence over the last two decades, but one of Portugal’s leading producers. Following Quinta do Bica’s bold move in 1992, he too left the co-operative system for independence intent on making terroir focused wine. Rather than adapt to external market demand for ‘modern internationalist’ styles, he has consistently demonstrated that Dao’s grapes and their traditional blendings were the best way forward. He hasn’t looked back since.
Castro continues to be a key Dao innovator with the strength of his innovation due its faith in both to the grapes that grow in his old vineyard and sub-region, and to Dao's traditions. Every wine Castro makes is worth getting to know and understand on its own terms.
The first time I visited Alvaro Castro he served a wonderful home made lunch with very rare, Grand Cru white and red Burgundies interspersed with his own wines. It was a very daring thing for any winemaker to do. Not a word was mentioned about any of the wines. Halfway through the meal I suddenly realized I was, increasingly and ever so subtly, becoming more impressed with his wines.
My favorite Alvaro story happened on my second visit. We were working through his current vintages in the living room of his modest home. Suddenly a donkey burst through the adjoining kitchen door and stood by the fridge. Alvaro opened its door, pulled out a carrot and held half in his mouth. The donkey then grabbed the other half the carrot, Alvaro released his half and the donkey walked out the door. Again, not a word was said and we carried on the tasting. Like with his wines, actions speak louder than words.
View Quinta da Pellada and Quinta da Saes wine notes here
Alvaro Castro amongst the vines