It’s easy to get distracted. We find ourselves and our feet on the hair have already escaped. It may be through the private tunnel where the palace can be seen from the balcony tables. Or because of the vineyards surrounded by forests and the mountains of São Francisco and São Luis. Or through the panoramic tasting room, with postcard views of the Arrabida massif. It’s natural: in Quinta de Alcube everything seems to be there until we distract ourselves from the most important things.
So, let’s go straight to the most important thing. Quinta de Alcube wines are special, the result of the landscape in which they were born. No, the farm is not “close” or even “overlooking” the Arrabida Natural Park: the Alcube is located exactly within the protected area, and is part of it.
Vineyards, covering 40 hectares on a property five times larger, space flowering lawns, patches of cork and holm oaks, stretches of pine forests, and stream banks that play with more color on rainy days. Everywhere, nature ablaze. But we were talking about liquor.
Extended life with less intervention
The region in which they are born gives them character. The soil, “richer” than that in most of the region, is clayey limestone, “with plenty of water available at shallow depths”. The explanation was given by Pedro Serra, whose family has been associated with this valley for at least six generations. The farm was owned by Pedro’s grandfather, and a quarter of a century ago his father, João Serra, bought it from the family. Joao, an agronomist by training, is more involved in the vineyards, Pedro is in charge of management and Alexandra, his sister, is in charge of events and tastings.
“And the microclimate of this valley” — Pedro continues, giving Setubal as a comparison term, six kilometers in a straight line — “gives temperature differences of up to six degrees, higher in summer, lower in winter.” With this temperature range, “the wines are fuller, more alcoholic.” White is about 14%, red is 15%. This does not mean that the Serra family is striving to produce a solid wine. They are interested in lower residual sugar content, “which means fewer stabilizers, and therefore less interference,” and the idea of longer-lived wines. And of course, personal taste comes in here too. “Since I’m not from the wine world,” Pedro explains, “I’m not very attached to the presets of how wine is made. We’ve worked to our taste from the start.”
A good example of them doing something right is that produce tends to sell out quickly, which is even more impressive if we consider that they only sell on the farm. In the shop, where they also serve cheese boards and sausages, at the same counter where they sell Azeitão cheeses, locally produced biscuits, and oranges from the farm. Or in the panoramic tasting room, spacious and full of natural light, finally shown, ready as it was before the pandemic brought wine tourism to a halt.
The best way to get there is through the crypt, through a ‘chronological’ trail that tells the history of the valley through the archaeological remains found there. Witness the richness of this cultivated land since ancient times.
In search of balance
The fifth is suitable for walking. There are signs identifying plant species, grape varieties listed, and there’s no shortage of shade where you can stop to open up wine, appropriate cheese, and take advantage of the natural park surroundings. In keeping with the landscape of which it is a part, Quinta de Alcube has its own vineyards in integrated production, allowing “to fight what is harmful to the plant with less impact on the environment”, without entering the biological sphere, something Pedro disbelief says: “No I think it can be produced [biológica] On a scale for humanity.” Sustainability is also: Feeding a Planet.
This concern also fits with the method of harvesting, through mechanical means that allow for gains in speed and in the selection of groups according to the stage of maturity: “With this, we can choose the day of picking based on what we need,” explains Pedro, defending minimal interference with vines and materials raw. “The less man interferes with grapes and wine, the more wine is the mirror of the region.” On the tasting room table with this view that insists on distracting us from the glass, we discover all this area, in many The nuancesIt is reflected in the wine. Poetry, almost unnoticed, insists on entering into the conversation. Alcube does this for us.
Quinta de Cuba
Rua do Alto das Necessidades, Azeitão (Setúbal)
GPS: 38.5309, -8.9722
Shop from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Visits and tastings subject to appointment (from 6.50 €, with tastings of 4 wines)
This article was published in the third issue of Solo magazine.