Evora is an ancient city set in the vast and peaceful landscapes of Alentejo. The city famous for its many monuments and gastronomy is no less famous for its local Alentejo wines.
Just 1 hour from Lisbon airport, Evora is in a world of its own this historical city is surrounded by vast wine estates, some of which have been producing quality wines for hundreds of years/
Two favourite estates
This article is about 2 impressive and in their individual way unique wine farms in the landscapes surrounding Evora. The first is the Herdade do Esporão located 40KM South East of Evora in the equally famous area of Monsaraz. The second is the Monte da Ravasqueira, 30 KM North of Evora. 2 very different wine producers but each with a unique approach and offer to its visitors.
Herdade do Esporão innovation in winemaking
Herdade do Esporão considers itself a project and their main aim are to create wines and products that serve society. They have been producing wines for 40 years and their motto is nature. The ideology behind the Herdade do Esporão wines is as impressive, if not even more, as the estate and the wines it produces. Nature, natural materials, processes and techniques.
Everything about this estate will amaze you. The vastness and beauty of the landscape are just secondary aspects. The herdade has over 700 Hectares of vineyards, olive groves and other crops which are all grown organically using old methods and innovative new methods for keeping out diseases and pests that may attack the produce.
New ways and old ways to create sustainable products that serve society and protect nature
On a tour of this estate, you will notice little details that you may not immediately recognize as functional additions to the landscape. For instance, each row of vines is headed by a rose, this certainly looks pretty and you may think this is for aesthetic reasons however these roses have a very important function in the growing of the grapes as they are the protectors against diseases that would potentially be disastrous for the vines. They are the first to catch any disease that may try to enter the vines acting as an alarm system and bodyguard all at once. Between the vines, you may notice, what looks like, wild growth of beans called favas. These as the roses are intentionally planted as they provide nourishment for the earth.
Wines produced using natural processes introduced by the Romans
Once inside the winery, you will be no less amazed. The buildings have been constructed using a typical old Alentejo process of rammed earth or Taipa, in which clay, earth and other local elements are compacted, this though labour intensive is a sustainable ecological way of construction that is regaining popularity.
Some of the wines at the Herdade do Esporao are produced according to an ancient process introduced to Portugal by the Romans. This process involves large clay Amphorae or as they are called in Alentejo, Talhas, in which the wines are vinified. In this process, olive oil is used to seal the wine from outside influence while the vinification takes place.
Gastronomy to compliment the wines
The Herdade has a restaurant to compliment their concept and wines. It is unique for the district and serves tasting menus of 10 courses and wine pairing. The menus are created with the same concept as everything produced on this estate. Ecological products served in a natural surrounding with luxury and excellence in mind. The restaurant seat up to 60 people but for larger groups different options are available.
Cask and their origins are as important to the taste of the wines are the grapes and the blends produced. The Herdade do Esporao uses 3 different types of casks the Portuguese cask, Casks imported from France and casks imported from the US all have their own personal characteristics that help to define the wines.
Services provided by the Herdade do Espirao for its visitors
The Herdade do Esporao has a large range of services available for small to large groups . Some of the more obvious ones are the wine and olive tasting sessions, the vineyard visits, guided tours of the wineries and a wine shop. Other less expected services include a horse and carriage tour, bicycle tours with a picnic, specialized tasting workshops for tasting wines based on vintage, cask, single and blended wines. The restaurant is not suitable for quick lunches and you should count on a full 3-hour experience. however, there is also a petiscos (tapas) bar for lighter faster lunches.
If you are interested in Discovering more of the options available at Herdade do Esporão please contact us by phone 00351 918354714 or use the form at the bottom of this article.
Monte da Ravasqueira, Old heritage brought into a new age
Monte da Ravasqueira, the second wine estate in this article is what you could almost consider the opposite of the Herdade do Esperao. This very large wine estate is the view back into the Portuguese past and all its glory. Monte da Ravasqueira is a place of history and tales. The estate has been in the same family for several generations, The Mello family and was originally a horse farm for the famous Lusitano horses. During the time of crisis, the choice between letting go of the 6000 workers on the estate and the horses made an easy decision.
Many of the spaces at the Monte da Ravasqueira still have a lively reference to its stud farm past. One of the larges spaces on the estate was formally the horse ring and one of the most interesting has been turned into a horse carriages museum.
The carriage museum, a recall to the Monte da Ravasqueira’s past
This wine estate is an interesting place but unique to the estate is the carriages museum. The private collection of the most interesting carriages are on display in one of the outbuilding s on the estate and give an interesting view of how transport was provided over the centuries. The carriages are in a magnificent state kept in a moisture-controlled area and interesting addition to a visit for all ages. The carriages and harnesses give reference to the estate’s horse rearing past and the fact that the 1996 World Carriage Driving Championship was won by Félix Brasseur, with Falcão, Fogoso, Favorito and Fraque, Lusitanian thoroughbreds from the stud farm that existed for many years on Monte da Ravasqueira.
Modern Monte da Ravasqueira, the opportunity for events with a royal touch
In modern much of the estate has been recovered and changed to provide modernly fitted spaces for events of all types. The spaces available are various for smaller groups to large conferences. The former Picadeira, horse riding ring being the largest with its 470m2 and space for 350 pax is perfect for conferences, large corporate meetings, weddings, banquets and other events whereas the smaller Sala dos Azulejos is suited for smaller groups fitting 30 pax in U-table setup and 99 in a theatre set up. Like all the other spaces the room is fitted with state of the art sound systems, visuals and fast internet.
The wines of the estate
The estate has been winning medals for its wines on a yearly basis some of the most prestigious being won by its reds, the regional, the vinha das Romas (wine of the Romans) and its white wine, Monte da Ravasqueira Reserva White 2015 amongst many others.
Possibilities for events and visits to the estate
The Herdade da Ravasqueira has many possibilities for visits, it could be a short wine tasting session in the shop or a complete package including accommodation. They welcome corporate events of any size. Some of the possibilities are wine tasting, guided tours, visits to the carriage museum, restaurant and catering services, workshops like cork harvesting, grape harvest, olive picking, tapestry workshops, wine courses, guided tours with a picnic, tours including buffet lunch, balloon flight and fully custom build experiences, meetings and events For more information please call 00351 918354714 or use the form at the bottom of this article.
Interested in receiving prices and possibilities for your events, please use the following form or call 00351 938328865
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