In October of 2013 I had the opportunity to visit the Quinta da Alorna in the Tejo region of Portugal. I had never visited this area or its wineries so it was all new and thrilling. The Quinta da Alorna winery where we were treated to an exquisite lunch was a step back into history. Everything in the beautiful villa spoke of another age. Additionally, it was surrounded by an English garden yet the foods and wines couldn’t have been more Portuguese. Owned for five generations by the Lopo de Carvalho family, Quinta da Alorna is quite an experience. I will write a longer piece with photos on the winery but today’s entry is about their Abafado, a sweet wine made from the white grape Fernao Pires (also known as Maria Gomes).
This aromatic white grape variety is planted extensively throughout Portugal. It can be made into various wines from dry to sweet. This version is sweet. The grapes are separated from their stalks and pressed with the resulting juice then stopped from fermenting by the addition of quality grape spirit. The wine is then aged for 5 years in old barrels. The result is a beautiful, amber-colored wine with hints of dried fruits, nuts, spice and honey. This 17.5% alcohol wine is just gorgeous and a great way to end a meal, as we did on Christmas.
Only 15.000 bottles are produced by Alorna’s winemaker Martta Reis Simões. This sweet wine has enough acidity though to keep it from being flabby, no small feat. If you are ever in Almeirim, Portugal (Tejo), don’t miss Alorna. The estate is pretty large, almost 3000 hectares but only 220 hectares are planted, so you can’t miss it.
Here ares two dessert pairings that the winery suggests should you be able to get your hands on this wine. It has been in the States for a while and I found it sold at a couple of places on Wine-Searcher.com.