Cortes De Cima
(Tour of Portugal)
Wednesday 3rd November
One thing we learnt very quickly in the Alantejo was not to be early. We arrived downstairs for breakfast about ten minutes early and they clearly weren't ready for us; we watched the bread arrive five minutes after us! The same happened when we arrived at Cortes de Cima.
We were meant to arrive at 10am but we didn’t get lost getting there and arrived at least thirty minutes early, much to the consternation of Carrie Jorgensen. So that was our first coffee-break because we were early and/or we weren’t expected. It must have happened at least twice again in the next couple of days!
Carrie arranged for Helena to take us round the winery and introduce us to the produce of the estate, while she went for her morning run and then helped her husband, who was lying flat on his back after fracturing his spine when the engine of his Cessna suddenly stopped in mid-air and he had to crash-land.
Cortes de Cima has 80 hectares under vine in the estate, although they did also buy in grapes from about another 220 hectares. It was a large estate and grew oak for corks and olive trees for olive oil as well. When the Jorgensen's first bought the estate, it had also produced fruit and vegetables, but over the years they had decided to
concentrate on vines, oaks and olives.
The most interesting feature of the winery was the temperature-controlled barrel room. No air-conditioning and humidifiers here. Instead, a series of pipes had been installed in one of the walls and those pipes could be filled with either hot or cold water, to warm or chill the room as required. Very ingenious – and very economic!
Wines we tasted include the Chaminé 2009 White, Courela 2009, Chaminé 2009 Red, Cortes de Cima 2008, Syrah 2008, Aragonez (Tempranillo) 2007 and the Reserva 2008. My favourite wines were the
Chaminé white and red, although the Reserva was another big, dark brooding monster, with a lovely spicy finish.
While we were tasting the wines on the veranda, Carrie showed us another interesting feature of the estate: the runway for the Cessna. It literally started at the edge of the veranda and continued straight out along the side of the hill, on the edge of the farm buildings. It was certainly an unique feature!
Carrie came to join us during the tasting (more bread and home-grown olive oil – very tasty) and explained how the Courela brand had been created as a “crisis wine”, ie cheap and cheerful.
it was clear she had done her homework about our company. In fact, I suspect that Cortes de Cima was the only winery to do any research about us before we arrived. During the course of our conversation, it became clear that Carrie was hoping that we would consider becoming her UK agents, as she had plenty of requests from the UK for her wines but no-one was supplying them as yet...