Portugal: Quinta do Crasto
Quinta do Crasto sits atop one of the thousand mountains that shape the Douro valley, facing the Douro river and surrounded by the never ending rows of Schist terraced vineyards. I never imagined it to be this beautiful. I supposed no one would, for its magic really kicks in once you are there. If I were Buddha, I probably would’ve sought enlightenment under a Crasto’s Maria Teresa old vine- preferably sipping it too to aid the process.
Viticulture in the Douro date back thousand of years, with the first trade being documented in 1367. In the 18th century, Marques do Pombal– he was the equivalent of a prime minister today- demarcated the winemaking region with 335 stone markers carryring the Feitoria designation, which guaranteed the best quality wine and the only one allowed to be exported to England. One of these marks, called marco pombalino, still stand right at Quinta do Crasto.
Another old tradition still found at Quinta do Crasto is the foot treading method in granite tanks, called lagares. Believe it or not, this old vinification technique is the best way to extract color and tannins from the grapes, assuring a great ageing potential. It seems like anyone could do it, but it’s actually hard work and those guys stay in there for at least 4 hours in a scientific sequence before they can take a break. How’s that for a work out?