Horse riding and wine tasting in Lisbon region – a family activity to please everyone.
The property and the winemaker
Our host was João França, the winemaker at Murgas Wines, who recovered an abandoned family wine project at Quinta da Lavandeira, Bucelas. Historically, the property produced olives and olive oil, and the sumptuous tasting room, which was converted from a ruined olive oil warehouse, pays homage to that heritage.
For the wine project relaunch, they adopted the name Quinta de Murgas, which refers to the property’s location.
The vineyards had been abandoned for over a decade, so João’s options were to replant or recover. He found the right partner in Bernardo Cabral, as the oenologist’s vision was to recover existing vineyards. With a total area of 23 hectares, currently, 12 are vineyards. The joint effort resulted in the first harvest in 2017.
On the field, the white grapes are Arinto, Esgana Cão (aka Cercial), and Rabo de Ovelha (the only ones allowed for the Bucelas DOC).
There’s also an interesting bet on red grapes with Touriga Franca and Pinot Noir. The project continues to grow with the planting of new plots in the last two years. Currently, wine production and bottling are done off-site.
The wine tasting
We had a vertical tasting of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 vintages of the Murgas White. The wine is made exclusively from Arinto, with only 20% of the batch fermented in used barrels. In general, the wines present exciting aromas, with mineral and citrus suggestions of excellent quality. The mouth is in tune with the aromatic perception, beautiful acidity, flavor, and softness punctuated with a medium body and energetic finish.
The first of the 2017 vintage started very well with fresh aromas and a light body with a persistent aftertaste. The 2018 vintage is more balanced and intense. The acidity is in tune with the oak. The 2019 vintage is bolder, with a strong salty footprint and more mouth volume.
Murgas Vinha do Arneiro Red, made from Touriga Franca, was a great surprise. It is incredible to see that this grape “made” in the Douro Valley is being adopted in the regions of Alentejo and Lisbon. Medium ruby color, and a very young aroma, remind me of freshly crushed red fruits. Its soft tannins and lightness in the mouth pair well with the available tapas of cheese, ham, and bread.
“Our vision is to produce low-volume high-quality wines”João França
Horse riding in vineyards
Murgas offers several activities that combine wine tasting and nature/animals. We went on the property-wide one-hour horseback ride.
We had the opportunity to observe and interact with llamas, donkeys, and deer. The Cavalos da Vinha team led by Martim Morais was simply fantastic. They stood by our side the whole time. The horses are very well cared for and housed in excellent condition.
Bucelas, Arinto’s motherland
Bucelas has been famous since the 19th century. The demarcation took place over a century ago, on March 3, 1911, almost coincidentally with the end of the monarchy in Portugal.
According to scientists who study the genetics of grape varieties, Arinto was born in Bucelas. It gained fame and is recognized, probably, as the most important white grape variety. It combines quality, adaptability, and geographic dispersion. The main characteristic recognized by winemakers is its acidic character, which is preserved even in warmer climates.
Portugal, an immense uninterrupted wine region
If you are looking for a wine tasting in Lisbon, you can find a jewel of Portuguese culture and hospitality just a 30-minute drive from the city center.
It’s a great opportunity to gather family and friends and discover the Portuguese countryside. In addition, you can taste high-quality exclusive wines.