As you might have read in our last blog post, Lisboa is a vast wine region, with the most DOCs of all Portuguese regions. Here, many different high-quality wines and also brandies are produced.
Today, we want to start a new blog series where we present in each post one of the 9 Controlled Origin Denomination (DOC) of the Lisboa Region and give you a few insider tips on what to do while there!
Since we are close to Christmas, it makes sense to start with the magical, fairy-tale places of Sintra and the DOC of Colares!
Colares is the westernmost DOC of Continental Europe and Portugal’s smallest wine producing region. However, this doesn’t mean that it is easily overlooked! Colares wines, apart from being produced with indigenous grapes exclusively grown in Colares, their vines are planted in sand dunes, making the wine very unique and special.
Red wine is still made with the traditional techniques and mostly with the Ramisco grape. It ages at least 6 to 8 years in wooden barrels and the bottle and its aroma is complex, with hints of nuts and red fruits. The production is quite small, with no more than 20 000 bottles per year. So, if you get a Red Ramisco from Colares for Christmas, feel honored!
The white wine is a fresh and citrine Malvasia de Colares with a fruity and floral aroma, that has an even smaller production: annually, only about 15 000 bottles are filled.
And now that we gave you all the reasons to taste the fantastic Colares wine, we are sharing the 5 best insider tips on how to explore the beautiful region!
- Adegas – the wine cellars
This one is obvious for any wine-lover! Book a guided tour through the wine cellars in Colares and get your own opinion on the famous and unique Colares wines! Don’t forget to share your experience with us! Head to Adega Viúva Gomes for an excellent service and beautiful building or Adega Regional de Colares to taste some of the highest quality wines!
The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when thinking of Sintra is the magical and colorful Palácio da Pena! It raises majestically over the city and makes just about anyone feel like a princess or prince. On a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon and much of its metropolitan area. It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.
You also can’t miss the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira, which consists of a romantic palace and chapel, and a luxurious park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions.
The Palacio de Monserrate (Monserrate Palace), is one of the most beautiful and visually striking mansions of Sintra, but as it 3.5km from the historic centre many visitors simply overlook this stunning palace. Monserrate Palace seamlessly blends Arabic, gothic and Indian architectural styles to create a wonderful summer house that is surrounded by beautiful gardens; when you visit Sintra do not miss-out on this hidden gem.
Last but not least, don’t miss the chance to visit Cabo da Roca, the impressive westernmost location of Europe! You can even get a certificate for having been at this point, around 150 metres above the sea, from where you can have a panoramic view over the Serra de Sintra and the coast, which makes it worth the visit.
While there, have a toast with your Wine With a View glass to celebrate the sunset!
In Colares you can find some of the best beaches near Lisbon, that are worth a visit both in summer and winter for long walks, to have a nice lunch with a great view at one of the many restaurants or even to surf. Don’t miss out on exploring Praia das Maçãs or Praia das Azenhas do Mar, where you can also find a salt-water pool! These are obviously also perfect spots for picnics, so bring your Wine With a View souvenir glasses and relax with the views! Special tip: Why don’t you ride the traditional and iconic tram to Praia das Maçãs? It’s the perfect stroll!
- Eat and Drink
For great traditional Portuguese food with the perfect view, try the Bar do Fundo at sunset time! It is absolutely breathtaking and will remain an unforgettable moment! The staff is very nice and attentive and always pleased to help you pick the best meal! Do try the seafood and fresh fish, you won’t be disappointed!
For a different and fun shopping experience visit Coolares Market on the last weekend of the month, where you can find trendy local items such as hand-made jewelry and clothes from different sellers or head to the gourmet area’s wines, cheese or jams. Sit down and enjoy the views over the mountain and ocean on a lazy Sunday! There is also a private farm with children-friendly animals, making this a perfect trip for the whole family!
What are you waiting for?!
Cheers, Merry Christmas and See you soon in Lisboa!