Casa Da ĺnsua: More than a Winery

Some wines to be sampled!: Photo Robert K. Stephen

The sparkling wines were excellent: Photo Robert K. Stephen

Lets not forget the famous Serra da Estrela cheese produced at the winery: Photo Robert K. Stephen

Octopus Risotto anyone? Photo Robert K. Stephen

Casa da ĺnsua is a Baroque style manor built in the 19th century by Luis de Albuquerque de Melo who was a Brazilian architect who imported Brazilian materials to build the manor. In 2009 the manor was converted into a five-star hotel. In fact it is the only hotel outside of Spain to be part of the Spanish Paradores hotel chain.
Casa da ĺnsua produced its first wine in 1852. Because of its hotel, restaurant and cheesemaking operation it is a key eno-tourism site in the Dão.
The man behind this impressive project is José Matias, an agricultural engineer that transformed the winemaking tradition of Casa da ĺnsua into a pillar of the Dão wine industry. Its cheese making operation that produces PDO designated Serra da Estrela cheese has made it more than simply a winery and hotel. Its beautiful gardens and marvellous architecture make it a very special place. Matias is also an excellent winemaker having earned the 2011 “Best Winegrower” by the Dão Regional Wine Commission.
It is on Wine Route 2 and close to the town of Penalva do castelo. Its vineyards comprise some 30 hectares. 25 hectares are used for red wine production and 5 for white. In 1998 it was the only producer in the Dão authourized to used Cabernet Sauvignon and Semillon grapes.
The wine is distributed through 8 hotels and restaurants owned by a corporate group in Viseu. In 2017 it exported 120,000 bottles of its wine to its hotels in Mozambique.
We start off with a Vinho Espumante 2016 made in the Classical Method. It is golden in colour and just full of tiny bubbles. It is crisp and dry with notes of guava and lemon on the nose. On the palate a bit of yeast, honey and sweet white grapefruit. It is a blend of Encruzado, Malvasia Fina and Semillon.
The Encruzado 2017 Reserve is gold in color and it is restrained on the nose with tropical notes, particularly mango. It has a big dollop of apricot on the nose.
The 2015 Colheita is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz. The nose was full of blackberry, blueberry and black cherry. On the palate blackberry, black cherry with a bit of smoke.
We were treated to a very nice lunch although the octopus risotto seemed a bit flat. That was a shame as it was just packed with octopus. All the other food was what you would expect from a 5-star hotel.
Impressive winery and a gastronomic adventure in a beautiful setting.

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write." Email Robert Stephen

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