A Cliff-Top Wine

Tomorrow sent Julian Putley to discover The Falesia Vineyard at Quinta dos Castanhos.

The Vinha do Falésia (vineyard of the cliffs) is described as a boutique vineyard. It is aptly named, as traditionally, a boutique is a small shop: fashionable, trendy and providing quality products. On a sunny autumn morning, I met the vineyard manager, Louise Gallagher. She opened the ornate cast iron gates into the attractive quinta, which comprises two hectares of grape vines and an adjacent villa owned by Iain and Feann Brown from the UK.

The small vineyard is located on the outskirts of Lagos and is the southernmost wine-producing property in Portugal. It is set on gently sloping land that terminates above the cliffs between Porto de Mós and Praia da Luz. Clearly visible from the coastal walk, during spring and summer the green rows of vines evoke the epitome of the Algarve’s burgeoning wine-making industry.

We strolled over to the pretty wine-tasting centre and patio area, with its expansive view down to the ocean. Louise gave me a brief history of the vineyard. “It all began in 2014 when the first planting took place, but it wasn’t until 2019 that the initial commercial venture was undertaken. In that year, we produced 1,000 bottles of white and 1,500 bottles of red. In 2022, we bottled 3,000 whites and 3,500 reds; our production is increasing annually, but it still can’t keep up with demand. We have an excellent oenologist Pedro Mendes, who is an expert in blending our wines. Our 2019 Reserva red and 2020 Reserva white won the silver award at the 2021 Algarve Wine Awards.”

The Falésia whites are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc grapes and the Arinto variety. The latter provides a slight citrus taste that matches perfectly for a more balanced flavour. The red wine is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tourigo Nacional grapes – the latter, a small fruity flavoured grape ideal for blends and increasing alcohol content.

Falésia Wines has a Premium and Reserva range. The Reserva wines are matured in oak barrels, the whites for six months and the reds for eighteen months. The Falésia red 2020 has just won gold at the recent 2022 Algarve Wine Awards ceremony, with the approval of recognised wine taster and adjudicator Sarah Ahmed.

Falésia has recently introduced a new wine to their inventory – a rosé – made from the red Negra Mole grape. During production, the grape juice is only allowed to ferment for a brief time to produce a rich salmon-pink colour. The wine has proved to be a success with customers who come for the popular wine-tasting events.

Wine tastings at Vinha do Falésia are hosted by Louise and are very popular, so popular that reservations are mandatory. There are scheduled events and it is also possible to arrange private events for groups of six or more. Louise explains, “I serve three of our signature wines at the tastings, but I serve full glasses of wine, not just a few drops. The wines are accompanied by a selection of charcuterie and cheeses, olives and more. The guests sit out on the small terrace and enjoy the spectacular views of the vineyard while I explain all about our wines. They may be previously unknown to each other, but after the tastings, they are all chatting, laughing and storytelling like best friends. Such is the nature of wine and our wonderful location.”

Besides having wine for sale, vouchers are available for purchase. Dates of scheduled tastings are found online. Private groups can be arranged. 




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