The wines of Quinta dos Pesos offer a glimpse into the long history of Carcavelos, one of Portugal’s great Vinhos Generosos and perhaps its rarest wine. Situated in the village of Caparide, west of Lisbon, the estate was acquired by Manoel de Boullosa in 1963 and its vineyards were painstakingly restored over the course of the next twenty years. In keeping with ancient tradition, a mixture of white (Arinto, Gallego Dourado, Ratinho, Rabo do Ovelha) and red grapes (João Santarem, Espadeiro Tinto) from its 3.5 hectares were co-fermented and aged in cask for many years. Winemaking operations ceased in 2005 as a result of M. Bullosa’s untimely passing, and only a few vintages had been commercialized in limited quantities. The remaining wines continued their long slumber until 2018, when they were tasted, selected and blended, with minimal intervention. The results were revelatory, and confirm the high esteem afforded Carcavelos over centuries.
Villa Oeiras is the sole remaining producer of Carcavelos and was born of a partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and municipality of Oeiras in 1983. Located in the former stables of the Marquis do Pombal at the Casal do Manteiga, its 12.5-hectares are planted on calcareous soils just 200 meters from the Tagus estuary and comprise nearly half of the entire DOC. The vines are derived from original Pombal cuttings, material that traces its roots back more than three centuries. Arinto, Gallego Dourado and Ratinho form the backbone of its benchmark 15-year-old blend, and the signature of the Atlantic Ocean features prominently in its expression. The wines are aged in a combination of Nacional (Portuguese) and French oak, initially at the Casal do Manteiga, and are later transferred to the palatial cellars of the M. do Pombal for extended elevage. Under the direction of winemakers Tiago Correira, Pedro Sá and Alexandre Lisboa, Villa Oeiras is both sentinel and beacon of the Carcavelos appellation.