There’s no need to go too far to feel you are on holidays. Only three hours by car from my town, we can find in Portugal, the wonderful Quinta da Lixa vineyard from 1986.
Three years ago the owners decided to add a hotel to the grounds so now wine lovers can enjoy a few days at the Monverde Wine Experience hotel. A unique setting in the wine region known as “Between Douro and Minho rivers”, 60 km (or 37 miles) distance from Porto and specialized in vinho verde, as Portuguese call the white wine.
Exactly in October last year, I went to St. Emilion vineyards in France, outside Bordeaux. This time I chose Portugal as my present to Thomas for his birthday and the truth is that the choice couldn’t have been better.
The hotel has 30 rooms and the superior ones offer perfect views keeping intimacy thanks to the large mirror windows which are sliding doors. A bathtub with views to the grapes about to be picked up or a terrace where you can have a picnic with the only noise of the birds singing, are two of the other experiences we enjoyed from the comfort of our room.
There are also numerous paths on the 21-hectares-estate which can be covered on foot or explored by bicycle as the hotel has them at disposal. Besides, Monverde is completed with an exterior pool with bar and a big spa with an indoor pool, sauna, and a gym.
The main building has a restaurant, which offers a tasting menu and a really big but cozy wine bar with incredible views of the vineyards. In fact, one of the days, we joined a tasting of their wines and later, a dinner at the terrace with the only light of three candles.
Although the Quinta is specialized in vinho verde, a rosè wine is also produced there and we had the opportunity to taste it too. About their white wines, Albarinho and Loureiro, we liked more the latter, although these wines are already familiar to us since they are cultivated in Galicia, the region where I come from.
As well as enjoying the hotel we also had a great time outdoors. We decided to know other areas around we had never been before. We drove 15 minutes to Amarante. It’s a small town on the bank of the Tamega river and very characteristic because of an impressive church and a Roman bridge. The “Beijinhos de Amor” (Kisses of Love), a very well-known sweet is easy to find in any of the countless cake shops.
Once we returned to the car we headed to the Pena Restaurant, which I found on the Internet. I was looking forward to eating there because of the good reviews I could read, the small menu and because it’s also located in a quinta. As it was already dark I took photos just with my mobile phone and I uploaded them directly on the Facebook page of the blog instead, but I want to stand out the delicious goat cheese ice cream with caramel apple they prepare.
In conclusion, a very complete birthday weekend which I recommend if you are a wine lover. It’s great to have the possibility to enjoy a few days in accommodations like this one so close to home.
Photography: Carlota Fariña
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