A vineyard, a brewery and a tapas bar all within two years seems mission impossible … but not for Quinta Dos Santos!
On a sunny November day, I hit the road to the Algarve to visit this recent wine producer, attracted initially by the beautiful images of their instagram.
After some more research I realized that besides wine, they also produce beer and still have a modern tapas bar I just HAD to know!
I arrived before the scheduled time for the visit so I enjoyed the sun and sat by the terrace of the bar “A Esquina” (The Corner) and asked for a cheese and sausage platter.
You would expect me to order a glass of wine to drink along but I was feeling the Dos Santos spirit and paired the platter with an Amber Ale beer. Very aromatic, toasted caramel flavor and dense texture, paired really well with the unctuous charcuterie.
When I finished my lunch, Elayna and Kyle joined me.
She is north american, he is south african with Portuguese roots. Both left their day jobs and moved to Estômbar in the Algarve where Dos Santos project was born in 2016.
Walking along the quinta, the young couple told me the whole story.
The vineyard that surrounds the house, is eight acres, was planted in 2017 and has six Portuguese grape varieties, white and red.
Located in a valley about two kilometers away from the sea, this vineyard promise to produce grapes of great quality. I say promise, because at this time the wine is produced from grapes bought from small producers in the region.
Also the wine cellar is still under construction so that in the 2019 harvest the whole process happens inside the quinta.
And because everything takes more time in the winemaking, it was through the beer that Dos Santos project came out and conquered the public. And now it’s Greg, Kyle’s brother who runs the brewery: Pilsner, Amber Ale, Lager and Pale Ale.
As you know, I’m a wine girl, so I loved to have a beer tasting for the first time – taken directly from the stainless steel vats – and understand how they may be different, in the aroma, in the intensity of the flavor, in the creaminess of the bubble and in the alcohol content.
Back to the restaurant, Elayna and Kyle let me taste the “Escolhido” (Chosen) wines. They really believe in the Negra Mole red variety, getting more and more cherished in the Algarve. From this grape I tasted a red and a white blanc de noir.
I must confess that I liked this white so much that I even brought it home with me! Dry, slightly cloudy, tropical fruit aromas, but with a long after taste where surprisingly I found some coconut.
Mário Andrade, well-known winemaker from Tejo and Alentejo region, has joined this irreverent and daring wine project.
The mission here is to bring some innovation to Algarve, a region still growing in the wine scene but with a huge potential .
And if a winery, a brewery and a restaurant were not enough work, the family still recovered an old shed on the estate and made it the “Casinha” (little house) – as they affectionately call it, with that distinctive English accent.
It has three bedrooms, kitchen, two bathrooms, living room and even a private swimming pool, perfect for a relaxed vacation away from the Algarve crowds.
In fact, here’s the tip for next summer: gather a group of friends, participate in the first harvest of the new winery and rest in the pool of the “Casinha” at the end of the day, with a glass of wine or a Dos Santos beer in hand!