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.
Monte Casteleja Palhete is made from 100% organic Bastardo grapes, a deeply colored 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.
Region, Sub-region and/or DOC: Algarve
Grape Varieties: Bastardo
Alcohol by volume: 12.5%