Wine Talk: Monte da Casteleja

Back in 2021, I wrote about the first ‘palhete’ produced at the Monte da Casteleja organic winery near Lagos. Then, the 2020 vintage replaced the rosé previously made by this producer with a very light red, designed to be drunk chilled.

‘Palhete’ wines are normally made by adding some white wine to a light-bodied red, but, here, only red grapes are used. This 2022 is the third ‘palhete’ to be made at Monte da Casteleja, this time with 80% Bastardo and 20% Sousão grapes, with skin contact taking place for no more than 12 hours, during the first phase of fermentation.

The wine is aged in steel with no added sulphites, meaning that this is about as natural as a wine can get. The wine is a deep cherry red tone in the glass with floral notes coming to the front on the nose. Fresh red fruit balances with good acidity to create a harmonious mouth feel and great freshness.

This is definitely not a wine to be aged, but a young red to be enjoyed straight away, ideal to be served with spicy food.

Monte da Casteleja also produces, amongst a few other wines, a very interesting orange wine, but quantities are small, meaning that these wines will never make it to the shelves of supermarkets. But they can be found at Convent’Bio in Lagoa and at the About Wine shop in Lagos. The wines are also sold at the winery located just outside of Lagos, near Odiáxere, with tours and tastings available.

The Palhete is priced at €13.50.

By Patrick Stuart
[email protected]