Quinta da Chocapalha – Lisboa

This wonderful quinta in the Alenquer hills, 40kms northeast of Lisbon, is owned by Alice and Paulo Tavares Da Silva. Alice is Swiss and their daughter, Sandra, makes some of the best reds in Portugal at the moment at the 3 Douro estates of Pintas, Quinta Manoella and Foz Torto.
The estate comprises around 45 hectares of vines, mainly indigenous Portuguese grape varieties, and a good proportion of vines date back to the 1980s when they purchased the estate. Although the quinta itself and surrounding vines date back to the 16th century, there is nothing antiquated about the winery, which is built into a hillside and contains the latest in winemaking equipment.Particularly important to Chocapalha’s unique and very appealing winestyle are the state of the art mechanical lagares (robotic treading machines) which replicate the job of foot treading and give very soft, plush, velvety tannins to the wines.
Although considerably further south than the Douro Valley, this wine region, which used to be known as Estremedura but is now simply called IGP Lisboa, benefits from cool, foggy mornings and evenings, and a constant cooling breeze blowing from the Atlantic Ocean 30kms to the west. Average Summer temperatures here fall between 25 and 30C, which is considerably lower than the Douro valley where temperatures in July and August regularly exceed 40C. The resulting wines from Chocopalha always have a freshness and verve which makes them extremely easy to drink!