Lunch in the atmospheric dining room at Herdade do Sobroso

Algarve Wine Society visits a friend for Christmas

It’s the season for getting together with friends and family, and so in December the Algarve Wine Society (AWS) visited long-standing friend Julian Reynolds at his winery in the upper Alentejo, for a superior tasting experience and feasting by the fireside.

Leaving the balmy Algarve on December 5 for an overnight stay, the group of 40 members came up against an unexpected problem, given the season: the coach’s air-conditioning had a fault! But when the end in view is a special evening at a multi award-winning winery, perseverance is bound to pay off. Which indeed it did.

Located in a historic quinta near Arronches, the Reynolds winery specialises in Bordeaux-style red wines, all lovingly tended in oak barrel or bottle until ready for the market, which can be a long time – the oldest wine sampled by the group was the Gloria Reynolds Cathedral, a product of the 2004 harvest.

Meanwhile, Julian Reynolds outlined the history of his family from its origins in the port trade two centuries ago. Moving to the dining room, the group warmed themselves at a huge log fire, renewing old friendships and making new ones over dinner until midnight loomed and the coach arrived.

The five-hour journey back to the Algarve next day happened to pass through one of the prime wine areas in the Alentejo, so a stop just had to be made for lunch at Herdade do Sobroso, a relatively new winery and rural hotel near the Guadiana – which apparently means “river of ducks”. Winemaker Filipe Teixeira Pinto lavishes care on his grapes and the result is a range of excellent wines, sampled by the group before and during a hearty Alentejan lunch of black pork and clams.

The AWS next meets on January 10 at the Holiday Inn in Armação de Pêra for a tasting of aged wines.

More information on the AWS is available at and on the wineries visited at and

Filipe Teixeira Pinto explains his approach to winemaking
Julian Reynolds with AWS President Gaynor Stapleton
Lunch in the atmospheric dining room at Herdade do Sobroso