On May 20th. 50 members of the Algarve Wine Society visited the wonderful Herdade da Mingorra outside Beja in the Baixo Alentejo. This was the third occasion on which the Society has visited this Winery which is a magnificent 1,400 hectare property with 10 percent devoted to its mainstay business - vines and wine production.
There are 2 lakes for irrigation and a significant amount of the rest of the property is devoted to olives and now 20 hectares are producing poppies, an exciting new crop, specially grown under license for morphine production for the pharmaceutical industry. Almonds, another major cash crop, are also grown.
30 hectares of the vines are more than thirty years old, where grapes such as Trincadeira, Aragonez, Alfrocheiro and Castelão exist along with others than are less well known. It is from these varieties that the delicious Vinhas da Ira is produced. Subsequent plantings have introduced more modern varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga National, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet followed even more lately by Arinto, Verdelho, Semillon, Alvarinho and Viognier.
The Mingorra estate is a family affair headed by father Henrique Uva ably assisted by his daughters Sofia and Maria and wife Isabel.
Henrique, his daughters and Anne
After a brief introduction to Mingorra, given by Henrique and his winemaker Pedro Hipólito, the group moved from the impressive, new winery to the spacious family Quinta where there was a formal tasting. This was followed by a delicious, long lunch in the beautifully decorated courtyard shaded with enormous white sails.
Seven wines were introduced by Henrique and Pedro and tasted by members including a very interesting new red wine called “Imaginem” which aims to reduce carbon emissions. This wine is young and still being developed but is a significant demonstration of the direction in which Mingorra is going, with its responsible and respectful attitude towards the environment. “Imaginem” was the first wine to in Portugal to obtain the PAS 2050 certification – an international standard evaluating greenhouse gases.
A marvellous lunch was provided by Isabel Uva, using fresh Alentejo produce. Dishes included starters of liver, partridge and pork followed by roast pork, potatoes and salads. Dessert of fresh fruit was accompanied by a traditional egg, sugar and bread concoction typical of the area.
Lunch at Mingorra
A further selection of espumantes, white wines, red wines and a delicious late harvest dessert wine were tasted with the meal. All in all a veritable treat and one which was enjoyed by everybody. And then it was back to the Algarve with many cases of wine and olive oil.