On the blogby Alfred
March 5 2020

Domaine Covela, Vinho Verde Portugal

by Pasquale Charland

With a history that dates back to the 1500s, the ruins of the old stone Casa de Covela, now the façade of the old Renaissance manor house and the more recent chapel of Santa Quiteria, bear witness to its agricultural and cultural importance. It is even amusing to think here that some of the paths and cart tracks that mark the boundaries of the estate date back to Roman times. In more recent history, Covela once belonged to the European director Manoel de Oliveira, one of the most important directors of the second half of the 20th century.

He was gifted with an incredible spirit and made films until his death at the age of 106! He enlarged and transformed Covela. It is to him that we owe these magnificent terraces where it is so nice to enjoy a glass of wine under the hot sun. In the late 1980s, the domain was acquired by businessman Nuno Araujo, who invested heavily in vineyards and wine to create the Covela brand we know today. Over the years, the wines have gained a national and international reputation mainly due to its modern labels and their distinctive blends.

Then, in 2007, with the awarding of the biodynamic producer classification, Covela consolidated its place among the avant-garde in Portugal. This 45 hectare estate benefits from its location on the right bank of the Douro, its amphitheatre shape facing south, its microclimate, its soils poor in granite are undoubtedly favoured by nature. In 2011, after a short period of neglect, Quinta de Covela is brought back to life by two new owners, a Brazilian, Lima, and an Englishman, Smith, both from diverse backgrounds such as finance, agriculture and the media.

As the last days of summer give way to autumn, the grapes are picked by hand, by variety and by plot. Special attention is paid to all details. Grapes are hand-picked before fermentation in stainless steel, concrete or oak barrels, depending on the wine produced. Some of them are aged in oak barrels stacked twelve metres above the cool stone floor. Everything is done on the estate: bottling, labelling and storage.

With a panoramic view over the Douro, the estate is renowned for its incredible beauty in the natural terraced landscape that forms this magnificent amphitheatre. To crown this extraordinary corner of paradise, there are the lemon trees, the other emblem of the estate, the cypresses, the wisteria, which make a parasol of greenery and colors that decorate the surroundings of the house. This is the hour when the sun falls again, illuminating the whole terrace under the foliage with a soft warm light; this is when the tasting begins. I have to admit that I spent a few minutes deep in my thoughts, no longer listening or talking, but concentrating only on the magical beauty of this breathtaking view of the valleys and telling myself…life is beautiful and that I am lucky to be living this experience! I wish you all the best! 

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