Serra do Mendro - Rugged morphology and unusual landscape

The lands of the Serra do Mendro are rocky, with a rugged morphology and unusual landscape, with huge schist outcrops, in a place where daily temperatures may vary by as much as 20º C. In this respect, the zone resembles distant wine regions, such as Rutherford or To Kalon, in the Napa Valley, California.

Guided by a philosophy of deep respect for the natural resources, we preserve the less productive soils and integrate their different crops in a sound ecological manner, in light of the fact that fog and winds from the Atlantic ocean reach the slopes and the interior of the valleys at varying speeds, originates a wide array of microclimates and, consequently, micro-terroirs.

The diversity of 4 vines

In the Herdade Aldeia de Cima we aim to plant 20 hectares of vineyards by 2020 - 65% with red grape varieties and 35% with white grape varieties, starting with viticulture in integrated production, that will later be converted into organic production.

We will start at the highest zone of the Serra do Mendro, offering views over a vast horizon, where we can contemplate in amazement the vast expanse of the Alentejo, including olive groves and vineyards, vegetable gardens, fields and the small towns and villages of Vidigueira and Beja. We will then pass to the plateau of the Aldeia de Cima - 289 to 300 metres above sea level - where we intend to explore the diversity of soils and solar exposure.

There will be 4 distinct vineyard zones in total: the Vinha dos Alfaiates, Vinha da Família, Vinha de Sant´Anna, and Vinha da Aldeya.

The birthplace of the Vinha dos Alfaiates

One of our biggest challenges is to maintain this natural equilibrium.

Vinha dos Alfaiates - No of plants:

  • 5.700 Antão Vaz
  • 8.400 Alicante Bouschet
  • 2.800 Baga
  • 3.400 Aragonez
  • 4.600 Trincadeira
  • 8.800 Alfrocheiro

Vinha dos Alfaiates
18 natural microterroirs
in traditional terraces

Rugged Terrain

Implanted in zones with an irregular geometry, characterised by more or less rounded ridges, the 14 ha vineyard is cultivated in function of the ground level curves, with a gradient of 30% to 40% in over half of the vineyard plots, with altitudes between 300 to 390 metres above sea level from west to east and an ideal solar exposure, allied to an unusual thermal amplitude, essential to endow freshness to the wine.

About 2800 grapevines are planted per hectare, derived from existing vineyards in the Alentejo. Each plot is divided in function of its micro-terroir, which is expected to attain production of 4000 kg / ha - slightly below the average in the Alentejo. The vineyard is cultivated in an environmentally-friendly manner, with a spacing of 80 cm between the vines, and thus better protected from the winds of the Serra do Mendro, using integrated production in the first 3 years and then converting to the organic production mode. The traditional vine training system is a single row of low-lying vines attached to wires, with rising vegetation of small and medium expansion, using a simple Guyot and unilateral cordon.

Traditional vineyard terraces, encompassing 18 natural micro-terroirs are composed of folded and fractured metamorphic rock formation, primarily constituted by mica schists, in a steep, skeletal soil of red schist, which is rich in quartz and with shallow arable soil.

The Vinha da Aldeya and Vinha de Sant'anna will be planted on the plateau

In 2020, in the Planalto do Mendro plateau, two new vineyards will be planted covering a total of 6 hectares - the Vinha da Aldeya and Vinha de Sant'Anna.

In the plateau of the Aldeia de Cima, the soil primarily consists of gravel-schist with hints of green schist, unique in the Iberian Peninsula. There are also granites, gabbros and quartzites that will influence the structure, aroma and body of the wines produced here.

The slopes facing south and southwest are ideal for producing wines with a classic character - sun-drenched, rich, intense and concentrated wines. The north-facing slopes produce wines with greater mineral intensity, freshness and fresh fruit, typical of wines from shaded vineyards.

The Vinha de Família vineyard is a reproduction of ancient agricultural techniques, located in a plot of land of around 0.1 hectares next to the winery

11 native species: Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet, Antão Vaz, Aragonês, Castelão, Diagalves, Moreto, Perrum, Tinta Caiada, Tinta Miúda and Roupeiro.

Planted in a 1m square layout and using an archaic training system, based on goblet vine training, the vines - that have no wire lattice-work and display a “crawling” appearance - are surrounded by the same micro-climate. The vines’ vegetal system protects the grapes from the intense summer heat. The polychromatic plots, each with their specific propensities, provide a balanced and resilient vegetal puzzle that impedes pests and diseases. They can be worked with the assistance of animal traction, and minimal fertilisation, on the basis of annual planting of pulses, pruning, weeding and splitting.

It is a Mediterranean, humanised vine – exuberant and brimming with character. It aims to preserve the Alentejan heritage, that is closer to spontaneous life, with species that interact with each other, as if part of a giant family.

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