Quinta da Pacheca: Top of its Class

Posted on Apr 13, 2022


Douro Valley winery

A beautiful winery to visit.

Portugual’s Douro Valley has a storied wine history that dates back centuries, most notably from the time of its demarcation as a region in 1756. One of the original properties within that demarcation is Quinta da Pacheca which we were lucky enough to visit just a few short months ago.

The name ‘Pacheca’ is derived from Lady Mariana Pacheco Perreira who was the property owner in 1738 according to a document of that same year.

The Pacheca name has a long history.

Prior to that, the property is referenced as far back as 1551 where it was a vineyard belonging to the Monasteries of Salzedas and St. João de Tarouca. It is a stunning estate (something we’d come to expect with every winery in the region) that covers approximately 75 hectares in the lower Douro, in the village of Cambres.

This renowned historical property began to embrace modernization and increased production when it was purchased by D. José Freire de Serpa Pimentel at the turn of the 20th Century.

Douro Valley portugal

The stone Lagars at Pacheca.

Back then, modernization meant the construction of 8 granite stone tanks where some of Pacheca’s red wines are still vinified today as part of a limited production offering. It also meant replanting the vineyards into single-variety-blocks which was practically unheard of at the time.

Quinta da Pacheca was one of the first wineries in the region to bottle DOC (denominação de origem controlada) wines under its own brand and in 1977, and, under the guidance of D. Eduardo Mendia Freire de Serpa Pimentel, was the first in Portugal to produce white wines from Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.

In the mid 1990’s, Pacheca began focusing on enotourism by offering guided tours and culinary classes (more on that a little later), along with the construction of the Wine House Hotel which opened in 2009 and features a handful of ‘rooms’ in the vineyard built in the shape of wine barrels.

Douro Valley winery

The wine barrel rooms exist..

Yes, those wine barrel rooms you’ve seen on social media actually exist and aren’t just ‘instagrammable’, they’re a brilliant way of drawing wine enthusiasts for a truly unique wine stay.

Today the Quinta is owned by Paulo Pereira and Maria do Céu Gonçalves who purchased it in 2012 but the Serpa Pimentel family is still involved, including Maria Serpa Pimentel who continues on as the estate winemaker.

Now back to those cooking classes…

So much of culture is historically rooted around the dinner table. It is where families and friends come together as one. Cooking is one of the main forms of expressing and identifying a culture and good food and good wine have gone together since the beginning of time.

Douro Valley winery cooking class

Chef Marcos + new friends.

For us, there is no better, and no more enjoyable way to immerse yourself in a local culture than by enjoying the pleasures of the local table, with the locals.

At Pacheca, we got a first-class cooking demonstration from Chef Marcos who was not only incredibly talented but had a warmth and passion for cooking that is beyond infectious. Despite the fact he was cooking that evening for a wedding of about 300 guests, he happily and energetically guided us through a culinary experience that included fresh local octopus, traditional croquettes and a crème brulée that was caramelized with what can best be described as a 19th century iron.

Douro Valley port wine

Tasting through Pacheca’s Vintage port & 40 yr old Tawny.

As Chef Marcos took us through the cooking class, Ricardo dos Santos (Tasting Room & Direct Sales Manager) provided a lineup of Pacheca wines that represented the spectrum of their wines, both still and Port. We enjoyed the 2020 Superior Branco, the 2019 Douro Tinto, the 2017 Lagar no. 1 Reserva, the 2018 Vintage Port, their Ruby Reserve Port, the 20-year-old Tawny Port and 40-year-old Tawny Port.

To finish with such a splendid wine and food pairing experience was a truly fitting end to our time in the Douro Valley.

 

 

Tasting Notes

Douro Valley Wine

The 2020 Branco Grande Reserva & 2017 Grande Reserva Touriga Nacional

2020 Pacheca Branco Grande Reserva

The round and fruity Branco Grande Reserva shows the fresh acidity that is a Duoro Valley signature. Made from a blend of Viosinho and Rabigato, this wine is raised in 500 litre barrels made of oak and acacia after the initial fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Medium body with slightly fresh acidity, there are notes of melon that layer in with the citrus and mineral to create a nicely balanced wine that charms with its simplicity and refreshing characteristics.

Very Good

2017 Pacheca Grande Reserva Touriga Nacional

Touriga Nacional is the main grape of the Duoro Valley and the grapes for this wine come from a 32 year old plot overlooking the river at 140 metres of elevation. Notes of plum and white pepper are delivered with a soft, smooth mouthfeel that shows polish and class. Medium body and medium minus tannin, this is a wine designed to deliver immediate pleasure. 18 months in French oak adds texture and a bit of spice.

Very Good+

Douro Valley wine

2017 Pacheca Lagar No 1 Reserva

2017 Lagar No. 1 Reserva

The beautiful dark purple colour informs you that this will be a wine that will impress. There is a lovely nose that evokes dark fruits such as blackberries and  black cherries with hints of baking spice. On the plate the body is full with medium plus tannin. Flavours of raspberry and blueberry gain added complexity from the spice notes and bitter chocolate. A serious wine that will reward a bit more time in the cellar. Very complex.

Excellent

2018  Pacheca Vintage Port

 A delicious and deeply coloured vintage port that was nearly opaque in our glasses. The palate comes across as very ripe with blueberry and blackberry flavours delivered with intensity. Vanilla and clove spices add complexity and accentuate the sweetness. There is both power and elegance to this wine. Charming today, it will no doubt evolve in cool cellars for decades to come.

Excellent

 

Douro Valley winery

The beautiful vineyards at Pacheca.

Quinta da Pacheca

Rua do Relógio do Sol 261 Cambres 5100-424 Lamego

Douro Valley – Portugal

(+351) 254 331 229

reservas@quintadapacheca.com

 

7 Comments

  1. iteachhorses@gmail.com'

    We will be in the the duorro valley in a few days, thank you for the great read, I think I know where we will be heading to!

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    • We were just there in November and loved every minute! We also recommend the other wineries we’ve written up (Quinta do Noval, Bomfim and Soito). One of the best restaurants we’ve ever been is DOC…Have a wonderful trip!

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    • We’ve been doing more of those when in international destinations as the food is usually built around the wine and you learn a lot about the local culture. We just love how food and wine bring people together!

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  2. martindredmond@gmail.com'

    I’m going to have to look for a local cooking class when we go to Portugal. It’s fascinating they produced a white wine of Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc! What a great read of experience at this historic winery

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  3. lwg.mine@gmail.com'

    Was a delightful return trip with your article and video. Turns out we did visit Pacheca, yet just for a tasting. The cooking and tasting is the way to go!

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    • We had never even heard of Pacheca prior to our trip and it was a beautiful winery to visit. The cooking class was a ton of fun–Chef Marcos’ energy was infectious and the food paired beautifully with the wines. We would definitely put it on the repeat list for a future trip.

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