Herdade De Grous
(Tour of Portugal)
Day 2 (cont'd)
Wednesday 3rd November
Our last visit on Wednesday was to Herdade de Grous. On the way down from Cortes de Cima to Herdade da Malhadinha Nova, I had managed to book us into a hotel in Beja. As we thought we had at least an hour, if not two, to kill before we were due to visit Herdade de Grous, we decided to pop into Beja to check the hotel out.
We had literally just found our way into the centre of Beja when my mobile started ringing. It was Pedro, the winemaker at Herdade de Grous, who was wondering where we were and how long it would take us to get to the estate, as he wanted to show us around before it got dark. Needless to say, we did a quick about-turn and hurried back down the road to Herdade de Grous.
Fortunately, we made it down before the sun! Which was just as well, as the estate was quite spectacular. A massive lake, lots of accommodation, a hotel, with a lovely pool that looked like it was running into the lake. Oh, and lots of vines, olive trees, and polytunnels for fruit and veg. It was a very impressive trip round the estate, especially as the sun was setting as we drove around. Very photogenic!
Herdade dos Grous is total about 600 hectares, of which 70 hectares are under vine, making approximately 600,000 bottles of wine each year! After the trip around the estate, we had a trip around the modern wine-making facility, including the huge barrel-room. And then to the tasting-room, where the wines were laid out along the table Bordeaux-style. The wines we tasted included the Grous 2009 white, the Grous 2009 Reserve white, the Grous 2008 red, the
Grous 23 Barricas 2009, the Grous Moon-harvested 2009 (100% Alicante Bouschet) and the Grous Reserva 2008 (another deep, dark, brooding red with lovely sweet fruit and very fine tannins but still very young).
Their two big wines were the Grous white and red: they make 100,000 bottles of the white and 400,000 bottles of the red in an average year. A lot of wine, however you look at it! But my favourite was definitely the Grous Moon-harvested 2009: a very unusual wine, all the better for the minimum intervention practised in the vineyard.
That evening was definitely a bit stressful! Not helped by the fact I left my camera behind and we had to go back down the road to collect it. By the time we got into Beja, it was about 8:00pm, so we decided to get some grub from the supermarket, have a quick snack and then go and see if we
could watch the football somewhere. Well, I tell you, the best laid plans of mice and men . . . we couldn’t find the hotel! We must have spent at least forty-five minutes wandering and walking around the centre of town trying to find it. It was “hidden” in the main pedestrian thorough-fare and Google Maps wasn’t much help finding exactly where it was.
Then, once we found it and had booked in, we were told that we couldn’t park the car overnight in the pedestrian zone and we had to go and park it in a car-park “just round the corner”. We found the car-park, parked up the car and then saw a whole lot of locals sitting outside drinking beer.
We quickly worked out they were watching the Champions League so went and joined them, bought up a beer, and ended watching the last thirty
minutes of the AC Milan v Real Madrid game, it was definitely an experience, sitting outside drinking a beer in the dark in our t-shirts in the beginning of November, watching the Champions League. Unlikely to happen again in a hurry, methinks! Oh, and the football was quite good too!