What am I: Monte refers to a typical Portuguese farm with a house on top of a small hill and its surrounding lands. The name Casteleja was given to the estate by an archaeologist who discovered the ruins of a small castle dating back to the Roman period. Archaeologists believe that the ancestral city of Lagos, called Lacobriga, was born near this valley, with the sea at that time coming much further inland, and very close to the property.
Guillaume Leroux, the owner of the estate and winemaker, was born in France to mixed French-Portuguese heritage. His grandfather on his mother’s side bought this farm in 1952, and eventually Guillaume inherited the land, long abandoned, from his Portuguese grandfather. He began to revitalize the property with the intention of making his own organic wines. The first grapes were planted in 2000, and in 2004 Monte da Casteleja produced its first wine.
Monte Casteleja seeks to recreate the concept of vin du producteur, using a combination of new technologies and ancestral artistry, such as foot treading, maceration with stems, and aging in wood vats. Since its inception in 1998, they have harvested the old-fashioned way using manual labor to select and cut the grapes, and transport the 15kg boxes. This hand harvest is followed at the end of the day by foot treading of the best grapes.
This natural and organic red wine from the Algarve, located in Southern Portugal, is 100% from the aromatic and seductive varietal Alfrocheiro. To our noses and palates, this wine is full of bramble and forest berries, a little raspberry compote, and a hint of white pepper. The palate also delivers these flavors, with the addition of an elusive minty edge, a little bit like eucalyptus or spearmint, and entirely at ease against the backdrop of the luscious fruit.
Monte da Casteleja Abe Luiz is a medium-bodied bodied wine, as comfortable with burgers and a backyard BBQ as it is with prime steaks. Or in true Algarve style, pair it with a rich fishermen’s stew of several varieties of sea creatures.
Region, Sub-region and/or DOC: Algarve
Grape Varieties: Alfrocheiro
Alcohol by volume: 12.5%