Quinta de Romeu
Founded in 1874 by the current owner’s great-great-grandfather, Clemente Guimarães Menéres, Quinta do Romeu is an estate of a few thousand hectares located near Regua in the Douro valley in northeast corner of Portugal, now in the capable hands of João Menéres. Today the estate comprises twenty-five hectares of vines, 120 hectares of olive groves, and cork forest as far as the eye can see. Despite years of grape growing and winemaking, the majority of Quinta do Romeu’s wine was sold in bulk to different Port houses who blended and bottled it at other estates. While this is still part of their production, Romeu has always been a still wine estate. The aim is for their wines is to offer freshness and elegance. The estate’s geographic location allows for this to be achieved: continental climate (hot, dry summers and cold winters) along with high diurnal range during growing season (hot days and cool nights). Vines are planted at an altitude of 320m above sea level in schist shale soil helping the grapes to ripen slowly whilst maintaining freshness and the delicate aromas of their varietals. The vineyards are planted with classic Douro grape varietals -Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Sousão, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão and Tinta Barroca for reds and Gouveio, Viozinho, Arinto and Rabigato for whites. In the early 1990s the Menéres family took the decision to swith to organic farming. No chemicals whatsoever and with homemade compost, all agriculture on the property has been certified organic by SATIVA PT BIO 03 since 1997. “We see the estate as a whole,” said João, thus the change ensured the health of the soil, the health of those who worked the land and a wealth of biodiversity on the property. The biodynamic philosophy also transfers over into the cellar, focusing on low-intervention winemaking and traditional practices: hand-harvesting, foot-treading in granite lagares, wild yeast for spontaneous fermentation (for reds), only small quantities of sulphur added, and no or minimal use of oak (500 litres Austrian oak).