Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo
Douro Valley, Portugal
Ethos: creating great wines in the Douro every day through small gestures that make all the difference.
History in action
Jorge Alves, Sónia Pereira, Mafalda Machado
White, rosé and red wines championing single indigenous grapes; and Ports.
Spanning 1.5 kilometres along the banks of the Douro River, Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is named after a small Carmelite chapel built there in 1765, to protect the sailors navigating cargo boats through that tricky stretch of water. You too can try out these traditional rabelo boats during one of the many day trips that the Winery House hotel will organise for you - a prime chance to see the famous terraced vineyards sloping down to the water’s edge (which form a classified UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Sailing boats, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and even flyboards are your alternatives. And the adventure continues on land, where a mountain bike, Jeep or classic car can take you up through the Douro’s hills and valleys (think open-topped Cadillac or Chevy). For slightly lower octane levels, take a picnic through the 120 hectares of vineyards or become a winemaker for the day by learning how to blend your own wines in a private session.
It’s not all action: this heritage estate boasts some of the oldest and most treasured vines in the region, and was even owned by the Portuguese royal family until 1725, when it was formed into its current structure.Your visit
With its own Wine Museum Centre, tours are wonderfully instructive and take you through the vineyards and winery, tastings taking place at the Patamar Wine Shop & Bar, which serves small plates alongside the wines and some knockout views. Finer dining happens at the locally-inspired Terraçu restaurant, where multi-course tasting menus can be paired with the quinta’s wines.
Hotel guests stay in one of the 11 rooms of the main manor house, with breakfast served family-style around a large table. A pool nestled amongst old cypress trees and gardens looks out onto the vineyards and is served by a wine and tapas bar, whilst a raised terrace bar has a cigar menu, all exclusively for residents.The wines
Exemplary old vines are regenerated to keep the plants fresh, healthy - and productive - for years to come. As a pioneer of planting single native grape varietals in the Douro, Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo offers an array of wines featuring star national grapes like Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca. Traditional farming techniques (using a horse and plough, for example) are met with technology in the winery for true but modern depictions of land seeping with history.