Quinta de La Rosa has withstood 100 years of a long and troubled history that only made it stronger and proud of its wines!
I have to confess that I’m slightly jealous (in a good way!) of Claire Feueheerd for having received as a gift from her grandmother, a place like Quinta de La Rosa.
This happened during 1906. But then II World War happen, as well as a dictatorship and a revolution in Portugal, some marriages and divorces in the family.
Many episodes that could have put this wine estate down – but nothing prevented it from becoming an important reference in the Porto and Douro wines.
For many years the grapes of this estate were sold to great houses of Port wine, like Croft and Sandeman. But that changed when, in 1988, Quinta de la Rosa started selling Ports with its own label. You could say that this was the turning year for this wine house.
Sophia and her father Tim – grand daughter and son of Claire – rolled up their sleeves determined to change the direction of their wines and, in the 90’s, also started to produce table wines, being one of the first producers in Douro to do so.
Today, Quinta de La Rosa produces mostly table wines, never forgetting Port wines, which are, at the end of the day, the essence of the Douro.
Their wines are exported a little bit to the whole world, receiving well deserved awards in the most prestigious competitions worldwide.
But I knew almost nothing of this story, until this year I went up to the Douro to finally know the Quinta.
Right in the center of Pinhão – the train coming from Porto stops just a few minutes walking from the estate – and with the river just there, Quinta de La Rosa and its vineyards can be considered very privileged ones!
I arrived at Quinta de La Rosa around lunch time, with a table waiting for me at Cozinha da Clara. The restaurant opened in 2017 by the hand of Chef Pedro Cardoso, as a tribute to Sophia’s grandmother.
Famous for her generosity and hospitality, Claire had a natural skill for cooking. Today, Cozinha da Clara relies on unpretentious Portuguese food, highlighting local and seasonal products, inspired by the old recipes of grandma Claire.
It was a beautiful sunny day and my table was prepared on the porch outside, just above the Douro. So beautiful, so calm and relaxing, so inspiring and even romantic! 😉
I can say that in that scenario, any kind of food would just taste delicious! But in fact it was not just “any kind of food” that came to my table that day.
The menu was long, so I accepted the waiter’s suggestion: tomato soup, black pork with mushrooms and vegetables and “deconstructed” custard tart for a sweet finish. What a delight! All paired by the Quinta de La Rosa white and red Reserva wines, Colheita 2009 Port and 20 years old Tawny.
All the wines were excellent, as you would expect from this winery, but I would highlight two:
Quinta de La Rosa Red Reserva 2016 – Made from the classic Douro grape varieties this is a wine that emphasizes mature fruit above everything with fineness and balance
20 years old Tawny – I’m suspicious because I love Tawnies, but this one was delicious! With a very velvety texture and flavors of nuts and spices that last in the mouth for long moments
With a full belly and happy soul, I went up to the wine shop where Patricia was hosting the small group that I joined to visit Quinta de La Rosa. The visit started with a short video about the history of the estate and family that keeps it alive.
Then Patricia took us to see the old lagares and barrel room, built in 1910 by Albert, great-grandfather of Sophia. With 8 granite winepress and capacity to store more than 100 barrels, this cellar remains almost intact until today.
Already inside the cellar and surrounded by barrels and their exhilarating aromas, the group listened carefully to the detailed description that the guide made about the entire winemaking process.
From harvest days, to the berry’s structure, the journey of the grape inside the winery until it turns into wine, types of oak and more. I would even say it was a short winemaking class for those who know little about it! Very interesting 🙂
As I already had the wines during lunch, I skipped the tasting that is always included at the end of the visit to Quinta de La Rosa.
The Quinta also organizes other activities during the year such as olive oil and vinegar tasting, strolls along the vineyards together with the winemaker Jorge Moreira or Sophia Bergqvist herself or even private barbecues by the swimming pool.
Recently, tourism has become more important to Quinta de La Rosa, so in addition to the visits and the restaurant, the estate also provides accommodation. The farmhouse now has 27 rooms with swimming pool, always with the Douro peeking out the window.
Claire has undoubtedly left a good legacy to her granddaughter Sophia, who now proudly takes care of this wine business, which is at the same time a big part of the Douro wine history itself!