Caminhos Cruzados is the most recent wine project in the region, considering itself as the “new Dão” – a young, modern and bold Dão
When I heard that a new design cellar by a recent Dão producer had opened, I was immediately curious. Curious to the point of getting in the car and driving almost hundred and ninety miles to Nelas alone, just to get to know Caminhos Cruzados.
And it was very worth it! I arrived around lunchtime where Ligia and father Paulo were waiting for me with a table full of good food and some of their ten wines.
It was between charcuterie, a baked cod with potatoes and a few good toasts, that I listened to the story of this family project.
It is, in a way, the classic case of a love that has changed lives. Although the family has no deep roots in the wine business, the owners of Caminhos Cruzados today take this family project very seriously.
When they started in 2012, the family used a small, older cellar to produce wine, but as the business grew the need for a larger winery became obvious.
Father and daughter left their jobs in the city and moved to the countryside, where they embraced their new life. Ligia left a successful career in law and Paulo splits his time between the fabric business and the wines. The two paths ended up crossing in Dão, where the family has its roots.
The building of the new winery, opened in 2017, is undoubtedly the Caminhos Cruzados brand image. Designed by the architect Nuno Pinto Cardoso, it has the shape of the two lines, the two paths, which intersect in a common destination: wine.
Located in Quinta da Teixuga – also the name of its top range wine – the design cellar stands out among the vineyards, some new and some really old ones – over 50 years old!
There are about 103 acres of vineyards where portuguese and international grape varieties were plemated, but of course with the Dão quite well represented!
Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Jaen as for the red grapes and Encruzado, Malvasia-Fina and Bical in white, are the varieties that could not be missed and that are present in all wines of this producer.
With the signature of resident winemaker Carla Rodrigues and winemakers Manuel Vieira and Carlos Magalhães, they are authentic and modern wines, true ambassadors of Dão’s identity.
During lunch, I tasted the cod with the Reserva Encruzado wine: Encruzado, the great white grape from Dão, known for its floral aromas.
French oak gives it a good body to be savored with a structured fish like cod, at the same time being a fresh wine, with minerality and excellent capacity for evolution.
With dessert, I tried Descarada. This is a sweet white wine produced from the Semillon and Chardonnay grape varieties, in a very hot year, which is why the grapes reached a high concentration of sugar.
Because it was harvested in late August, the acidity of the wine is high, but still very sweet, creating this “early harvest” style! It tastes like very ripe white plum, almost syrupy and jasmine flower, in a late afternoon. Delicious!
At the wine shop, you can find all the wines of Caminhos Cruzados: five references in the Titular range, two in the Teixuga range and three in the Caminhos Cruzados range.
This area was also designed and decorated in a modern way according to the whole spirit of the winery, with natural light and views of the vineyard, as desired.
Wine tourism here is also well thought out and organized!
In addition to the classic visit to the winery with wine tasting, in Caminhos Cruzados you can also be a “Winemaker for a day”, play the “Game of aromas”, have a picnic or even a treasure hunt in the vineyard.
Therefore, there are activities for all tastes and ages.
Ligia was an excellent hostess! He showed me around the “house” – meaning the winery and vineyards – and explained me how her life changed for the better. The adaptation that was, and how it still is, rewarding!
“Wine has these things … we fall in love with its culture, with its origin and what initially is just a flirtation ends up in a serious relationship for the rest of your life”. She said to me in a tone of confession, at the farewell before returning to Lisbon.
Curiously, I do know what it feels like, and that’s why I enjoyed getting to know the history of Caminhos Cruzados! 😊