Wine tourism

Peace, Quiet and good wine



It is exactly in the Superior Douro, next to the village of Pocinho, that Quinta do Saião is located, since 2012 in the hands of the Van Zeller family, a well-known name in the Douro region, who are also producers of Douro and Porto wines. Saião is a Portuguese word that refers to a medicinal plant, also known as fortune leaf or jaguar ear, whose scientific name is Kalanchoe pinnata. This plant is native to Madagascar, but has been widespread in many tropical regions around the world. However, Saião can also refer to an ancient warrior or soldier. In this context, the term may be related to a specific military garment, a type of armor or cloak that was worn by these warriors. It is not known whether it was because this plant existed on the property, or if a warrior passed by there, but the truth is that since its foundation, the property has been called that. And what is known for sure is that on the 150 hectares of the farm, wine growing has always been very important. Finally, in the most prominent areas of the farm, there is still a predominance of a woodland forest (Quercus coccifera), broom and holm oaks, among other plant species, including cork oak, cork oak, olive tree and juniper. The vineyard currently occupies 10 hectares.

The existing paths give the landscape a unique character: well designed and consolidated along the most favorable topography, they accentuate the natural movement of the terrain, involving us in a game of curves and counter-curves that offer us and take away from the river. Agritourism/enotourism, rooms based on restored farm ruins and perfectly blended into the landscape, complement the wine business.

According to Fernando Vanzeller, the Quinta do Saião tourist project has unique characteristics in the Douro Superior region. «The small castro of Saião resulted from the restoration of existing ruins on the farm, respecting the architecture and construction methods of the region. It consists of ten bedrooms, two dining rooms for guests, a visitor center with a tasting room and a traditional wine cellar with presses where some of our organic Port and Douro wines are produced» explains Fernando, who together with his brother and partner, winemaker Álvaro Van Zeller, manages the farm. «The rooms and suites were distributed among the five buildings that already existed and were named after the functions they originally had: The main house, the oil press, the sheep house, the oven house and the threshing floor house» , finishes. The garden and swimming pool, designed to take advantage of the best light and setting of the property, give visitors the opportunity to be with their family in a secluded, silent and comfortable place. «This is a type of Premium, luxury Wine Tourism, where every detail counts. Each visitor is unique, and that's why we meet what each one wants». Exclusive wine tastings, hiking trails, walks, trips to the vineyard are some of the moments that mark the memories of those who pass by.

THE DEPTH OF THE SUPERIOR DOURO The Van Zeller family has stood out in the history of the region, in the production of Douro and Porto wines. More recently, in 1996, they founded the company Barão de Vilar from a small stock of wine purchased by their father, Fernando Luis Van Zeller, later handed over to his sons, Fernando and Álvaro Van Zeller. In 2012, with the acquisition of Quinta do Saião, they decided to move forward with a new wine challenge that began with the production of a very special red, Quinta do Castro do Saião, from the 2020 harvest. To achieve this, Álvaro Vanzeller has the support of long-time colleague and friend, winemaker Manuel Vieira, but also winemaker Mafalda Machado, who also brightens the team. «The profile of the wine was an idea shared between the three of them and, in the end, it was Álvaro who closed the agenda. It's always good to have three heads thinking and, in the end, one of them to break the tie, if necessary», reveals Manuel Vieira. The 2019 - 2020 wine year recorded notable variations in terms of temperature and precipitation, being categorized as a hot and dry season. The spring rain contributed to the robust growth of the vines until an advanced stage, and July stood out as the hottest month since 1931, being extremely dry, which led to dehydration of the bunches at the end of August and a consequent reduction in production. . «The harvest took place earlier than usual, but the musts harvested revealed good quality, with high sugar levels, adequate acidity and a rich presence of phenolic compounds», says Álvaro Vanzeller.

Harvested manually at the beginning of September, the grapes went to the cellar, where they were then cooled. This was followed by skin maceration in a mill for 24 hours, before being moved to a vat, where cold maceration continued for another three days, preceding inoculation. Fermentation, at controlled temperature, lasted 9 days. Finally, it aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels and the remainder in stainless steel vats before being bottled. «The barrels are fine grained and medium toasted» reveals Mafalda Machado. «Despite the barrels being new, the wood is barely felt, it is very well integrated», reveals Mafalda Machado. The wine resulted in 5300 bottles. Made with the varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Sousão and Alicante Bouschet, from different vineyards at Quinta do Saião, with different exposures and ages, it is a red that makes its presence felt with enormous elegance. The aroma reveals mineral notes, black fruit and some balsamic. In the mouth it is structured, robust but without tannins attacking the palate. Very fresh, with a long and deep aftertaste. A red of respect.

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