Now an annual event, lunch in the garden at O Barradas restaurant near Silves never disappoints, and when the Algarve Wine Society met there on September 8, the weather was perfect for a late-summer celebration.
Gathering under the trees, there was time for a catchup with old friends while sampling the delights of Guadalupe Rosé and Branco from Quinta do Quetzal, producers of the wines presented throughout the lunch.
General Manager Reto Jörg, visiting from the estate near Vidigueira in the Alentejo, explained its history. Quetzal was established by lovers of wine and art, the DeBruin family from the Netherlands. The winery they built houses not only the production facility but also a restaurant and art gallery, a destination for visitors to the Alentejo.
The lunch began with a jumbo prawn salad with passion fruit vinaigrette, paired with Guadalupe Winemaker’s Selection Branco and the Quetzal Reserva Branco accompanied the fish course.
Although in such a rural location, the standard of cuisine provided by Luís and Andrea Pequeno at O Barradas is always excellent and showed itself to the full in a flavoursome main course of lamb fillet in port wine sauce, served alongside two premium reds, with the Quetzal Reserva Tinto being a particular treat.
Reto Jörg explained that, due to climate change, not only is harvest happening up to a month earlier than a few years ago, but wineries are all having to consider planting more hot climate varieties in order that the winery will still be viable in 10 years’ time.
One such variety might be Alicante Bouschet, a favourite in the Alentejo and the basis of the Quetzal Rich Red dessert wine, enjoyed by the group alongside walnut parfait and chocolate mousse.
The Algarve Wine Society next meets for a day trip to Ribafreixo winery in the Alentejo on October 4.
Quinta do Quetzal’s website can be found at quintadoquetzal.com, the wines are available via Garrafeira Baco in Loulé and more information on the AWS is available at www.algarvewinesociety.com
By ALISON WEST