Steve Rigby (AWS), André Gomes Pereira (Quinta do Montalto), António Teixeira and Chef Marcelo Pegacho (Rolha)
Steve Rigby (AWS), André Gomes Pereira (Quinta do Montalto), António Teixeira and Chef Marcelo Pegacho (Rolha)

Tasting of organic wines from Quinta do Montalto

The event was held at Rolha Wine Bar in Porches

For the first event of the new year, members of the Algarve Wine Society (AWS) met over two lunchtimes in the atmospheric Rolha Wine Bar in Porches to sample the wines from Quinta do Montalto, presented by winemaker André Gomes Pereira.

His family have owned the estate for five generations and have been pioneers of organic farming in Portugal since 1997, working hard to maintain old traditions and heritage for the new generations to come.

The property is located between Ourém and Fátima, and is one of the most northerly wineries in the Lisbon region, covering 50 hectares of which 15.5 are vineyards.

André Gomes Pereira presents his wines
André Gomes Pereira presents his wines

Members were welcomed with a glass of Rosé Espumante made from 100% Baga grapes and then sat down to a tasting of six contrasting wines, paired cleverly with delicious traditional Algarvian dishes prepared by Rolha’s owner António Texeira and his chef Marcelo Pegacho.

A Fernão Pires to accompany ‘pastéis de bacalhau’ (codfish cakes) was followed by a white Talha wine, made as it has been since Roman times in handmade amphoras, lined with pine resin. It paired beautifully with the flavoursome ‘cavalas alimadas’ (salted, boiled mackerel).

AWS members enjoy their tasting and lunch
AWS members enjoy their tasting and lunch

There then followed a Medieval de Ourém, a wine made by only a handful of winemakers in this small area, just as it was made by the Cistercian Monks in Medieval times. It is unusually a mixture of 80% white Fernão Pires and 20% red Trincadeira, although the wine is classed as a “red”. It is a strong-flavoured wine which went very well with slices of ‘xerém com chouriço’ (cornmeal porridge with chorizo).

Three contrasting red wines followed to accompany a steaming dish of ‘arroz de pato’ (duck rice) followed by local cheeses and homemade torta de laranja (orange roll cake). These were the entry level Vinha da Malhada, then the Cepa Pura Touriga Nacional 2019 and finally the Cepa Pura Aragonez 2017, which has aged well and proved particularly popular.

The AWS programme continues with a tasting of Argentinian wines at the Tribulum Restaurant in Almancil on February 28.

For more information about the AWS, visit algarvewinesociety.com

By STEVE RIGBY