Of bread and wine
Organic vegetables aside, Lagoa’s new Convent’bio shop has some very interesting wines for sale and (probably) the best bread around. I dropped in last Saturday morning at this new shop on the EN125 just east of Lagoa.
This is an organic farm growing seasonal veg with a small bakery, café and shop in the renovated convent building. Everything here is done on a very small scale.
With a few vegetables to choose from and a handful of organic products, the shop is all about quality as opposed to quantity with everything on sale being 100% organic.
Before I get onto the wine, a quick note on the bread. They bake at the end of the day on Tuesdays and Fridays only for the time being. So, to get your bread hot from the oven, the best time to visit is around 6pm on those days, or just pick it up the next morning on Wednesday or Saturday.
All of the loaves are slow fermented, i.e. naturally-leavened, using organic flours such as spelt and carob. Each morning the bread sells out very quickly, so it is best to pop in and place your order.
As for the wine, the selection again is tiny, but I was very impressed to see the wines of Minho producer Aphros on the shelves. This small winery way up north is one of the pioneers of bio-dynamic winemaking in Portugal.
These are not wines you will find in supermarkets, but they have received much critical praise from top wine writers such as Jancis Robinson and the Wine Detective Sarah Ahmed.
Their two main labels, Phaunus and Aphros, are both represented and the one that caught my attention was this “Palhete” (a kind of claret). It is not cheap, costing €17.31, but I will certainly be back for more.
The wine is a blend of 80% Loureiro, one of the traditional white vinho verde grapes, with Vinhão, the main red grape used to make inky red vinho verde. The wine appears as a dark, almost red, rosé and, being unfiltered, has a slightly cloudy appearance.
It is naturally fermented with the skins and aged on the lees in beeswax-lined clay pots. The result is a wine of unique character with just 11.5% alcohol. On the nose there are floral and earthy notes with a touch of tannic structure in the mouth, good acidity and a dry yet fruity finish.
I have yet to try the other wines on offer at Convent’bio from this producer, so watch this space.
By PATRICK STUART