What am I: Monte da Casteleja Palhete
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. At that time, the sea would have been 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. Eventually, Guillaume inherited the land, long abandoned, from this Portuguese grandfather. He began to revitalize the property with the intention of making organic wines. The first grapes were planted in 2000, and in 2004 Monte da Casteleja produced its first wine.
Monte da Casteleja seeks to recreate the concept of vin du producteur. This is achieved by using a combination of new technologies and ancestral artistry. These include 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.
Monte da Casteleja Palhete is made from 100% organic Bastardo grapes. Bastardo is a red grape that produces an intensely colored rosé after only 8 hours of skin contact.
Owing to the proximity to the sea and the natural varietal character, this rosé has a remarkable freshness and bright acidity despite its deep color. It is filled with delectable and mouth-watering flavors of strawberry, watermelon, a bit of dried cherry, and a hint of bracing salinity and mineral character. The wine is naturally filtered via decantation in the cellar but is unfined.
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