Quinta do Soito: Causing a Stir

Posted on Mar 2, 2022

Dao region portugal

The entrance to the property.

Every time we go on an AdVINEture, particularly to a region we’ve never been to before, we discover an unexpected gem that provides a memorable experience that we’ll forever associate with that trip. In the case of our recent trip to Portugal, it was Quinta do Soito in the region of Dão that left a lasting impression.

On the drive from Portugal’s Douro Valley to Dão, we swapped riverside views with terraced vineyards for views of the Serra da Estrela and Serra do Caramulo. In between these two mountain ranges, Quinta do Soito sits surrounded by picturesque vineyards in one of the oldest established regions in the country.

dao wine region portugal

The beautiful vineyards at Quinta do Soito.

Quinta do Soito is a small, family winery that calls the village of Tibalde in the city of Mangualde (in the district of Viseu), home. We met with Sandra Soares who, along with her husband José Carlos, established their winery in 2013. When they purchased the 10-hectare property, their initial intention was to have a place where the family could gather and spend time together.

dao wine region Portugal

Sandra Soares with Soito’s winemaker Carlos.

Close to 70% of the land they bought consisted of grapevines that had been planted 20 years prior. Sandra and José Carlos modified their original plan and decided to build a winery. They have since acquired another 6.5 vineyards at Quinta do Cabeço da Roda located in a neighbouring village in the same district. The soil is largely sand and clay on top allowing for good drainage to its granite base.

From the very start, Sandra and José Carlos have been deliberate in their development of Quinta do Soito.

Dao portugal wine region

Grapes left on the vine after harvest in the Dao region.

They are very selective and everything in the winery and in the vineyard is done by hand. Harvest typically begins around the middle of September and lasts about a month.

The focus for their 7 hectares of planted vines is to grow those varieties that the Dão region is known for: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Malvasia-Fina and Jaen. We were also introduced to Encruzado for the first time, which though lesser-known outside of Portugal, is quite popular among the locals. After tasting the rich, full-bodied white wine it produces, we completely understand why. It was one of our favourite wines of the trip, though sadly not a wine that’s easy to find here in Canada.

When it came time to design the winery, Sandra and José Carlos enlisted an architect who was also a wine producer to ensure that it was built with practicality in mind.

Dao wine region portugal

The tasting room at Soito.

Sandra told us that the winery was built, “for the quantity of grapes we have so it’s very small…we have some wines where we produce only 1000 bottles.”

She toured us through the winery explaining the layout and how the grapes are moved once they are brought in from the vineyard. Sandra pointed to a large door on the ground level explaining that it is large enough to their tractor. “The tractor takes the grapes directly to the sorting table which would be set up in this space and then the grapes go directly into the tanks.” The fermentation tanks are a level below the pad and the gravity flow design means there is no need for pumps allowing for a more gentle handling of the fruit.

Dao wine region portugal

The tank room at Soito.

Of course, being a Portuguese winery, one of the wines Quinta do Soito produces is Port. As we had discovered earlier in our trip, most wineries that produce Port in Portugal still crush their grapes by foot stomping them in shallow cement tanks called lagars. As we walked past the one at Quinta do Soito, Sandra was very quick to remind us that the Touriga Nacional variety was born in the region—’don’t forget!’; and just as quickly followed that reminder with a warm laugh.

Next, we headed down to what Sandra refers to as the storage room. There we were surrounded by a handful of 10,000L tanks. She explained that as a small producer making small quantities, these types of tanks are necessary because everything in terms of harvest and vinification for each grape variety is done separately.

Dao wine region portugal

Inside the barrel room.

Ageing is done in French Oak barrels anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on the wine. One of the most interesting things we saw in the winery is how they stir the lees (the yeast cells that fall to the bottom of the barrel). Most wineries typically use the Bâtonnage method whereby a metal tool is inserted into the barrel, and someone stirs the juice. She takes us over to where a barrel is sitting on wheels to demonstrate a system we have seen only once before at Grgich Hills Estate in Napa. At Quinta do Soito (and Grgich), when they want to stir the lees, they simply rotate the barrel on the wheels, thus saving time while also minimizing oxygen coming into the barrel every time a metal stir stick needs to be inserted.

When the tour of the winery finished, we headed back across the road to the vineyard side of the property.

Dao region portugal

Galo da Quinta.

A beautiful house, a 2-bedroom guest house and pool with poolhouse, sit surrounded by the estate vineyards. We enthusiastically accepted the invitation to take a stroll before a traditional farmer’s lunch was served in the pool house.

Plates of local sausage and cheese were set up at the table as appetizers with Soito’s two rosés, their Encruzado, and two of their red wines ready for tasting. Moments later Sandra and one of her assistants came walking in carrying a heavy iron pot filled with Galo da Quinta (a delicious broth with pasta and chicken). The pleasures of the table were in full force as we ate, drank and conversed with friends new and old over several hours.

At Quinta do Soito we learned a lot about the region, the grapes grown, and their high-quality wine. Most importantly, we were reminded that no matter how small the size of a winery, a focus on quality, tradition and innovation, will always make a big impression.

Tasting Notes

dao wines portugal

2019 Soito Rosé

2019 Soito Rosé

Made from a blend of Alfrochiero, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional, this delicious rosé has a vibrant orange/pink colour. We get notes of strawberry and raspberry along with a touch of red cherry. The light herbal notes add complexity and plenty of interest to this wine and the mineral notes bring linearity. Medium+ body and medium acidity indicate a well-structured rosé; a more serious and gastronomic rosé than many of the aperitif styles that dominate the category. We are big rosé fans in general and this one really impressed us. Excellent

2020 Soito Encruzado

Dao wines Portugal

2020 Soito Encruzado

A highlight of the trip was the Encruzado. Encruzado is a grape variety indigenous to the Dao Valley and Soito blends about 10% Malvasia Fina with it. 15% of the batch is aged in French oak barrels for 4 months. Batonnage (stirring of the lees or spent yeast cells) adds texture and dimension to the wine, and compliments the gentle oak treatment, resulting in medium+ body. Rounding out the wine and creating terrific balance is the streak of racy acidity, something we learned is common with most Portuguese whites. This wine is wonderfully complex showing a variety of stone fruit, from apricot to cantaloupe. Subtle notes of almond paste add interest and a counterpoint to the lemon/lime and acidity notes. Excellent+


Dao Wines Portugal

2016 Soito Tinto

2016 Soito Tinto

A blend of the local varieties of Alfrochiero, Tinta Roriz, Jaen and Touriga Nacional, this wine shared traits in common with some Cabernet Franc wines from the Loire Valley. Juicy cherry and vanilla with hints of baking spices are served up on a medium body frame with gentle tannins and acidity. Round and very approachable, it has a lightness about it that make it one of those red wines that pairs very well with fish.

Very Good+


2015 Soito Reserva

dao wines portugal

2016 Soito Reserva

Made from the same blend as the Tinto but this is a selection of the best barrels of the vintage. This wine really impressed. Whereas the Tinto was Loire, this came across more like a high class St Emillion! Plum and boysenberry notes come through in a riper and denser style. The balance in this wines was really something and showed power together with finesse. Slightly more structure than the Tinto but sharing the same approachability. It is too bad these wines are produced and distributed in such limited quantities as they will rival international wines selling at multiples of what these cost. Highly recommended.



Dao wine region portugal

A must-visit in Dao.

Quinta do Soito

Tibalde Fornos de Maceira Dão

3530-071 Mangualde

email: geral@soitowines.com



  1. geral@soitowines.com'

    Thank you very much for your comments! It was also a very special moment for us and the group was also wonderful! Our annual production is correct (max around 100.000 bottles total production) As for our Encruzado, we hope you can taste ir again and again! Come! We are looking forward to have you here again! Thank you so much!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you for confirming Sandra! The pleasure was entirely ours and we can’t wait to return…Abrigada!

      Post a Reply
  2. lwg.mine@gmail.com'

    You can tell Sandra and José Carlos are passionate about what they do. And their Encruzado… well, spectacular tasting note! I’m curious, do you know their annual production?

    Post a Reply
    • We had never had Encruzado before and absolutely adored it. As for production, I seem to recall Sandra saying around 100,000 bottles (8,000 cases-ish) but I’ll need to re-confirm…

      Post a Reply
  3. martindredmond@gmail.com'

    Sounds like that lunch was quite a treat. Tasting local wine with the winemaker accompanied by local food and good conversation over a few hours is the best!

    Post a Reply
    • Couldn’t agree more…a very special experience we won’t soon forget!

      Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

Share This