Quinta de la Rosa is off by itself, on the edge of the river and vineyards above on the hillside. The guest area of the quinta is more like a guest house at some villa than a bed and breakfast or inn. Though we were expected, there was no front desk to speak of, and nobody to greet us right off the bat. The innkeeper the taxi driver found was very nice and showed us to our room. Soon after, we were given a tour of the winery then and offered a tasting.

The quinta is a small, labyrinthine villa nestled on a steep riverside hill. If the winery were any bigger it might be possible to get lost among the various staircases and anonymous buildings. Our guide and innkeeper, Adalina (not sure of the spelling) took us down to the crush and fermentation building and then over to the barrel building. I finally got to see first-hand a stone lagar that I’ve read so much about. These granite vats are where vineyard workers stomp the grapes after they’ve spent all day harvesting on the steep slopes. Depopulation throughout Portugal during times of economic hardships and authoritarian rule, and costs of winemaking, compelled wine producers in the Douro to turn to various automated methods of simulating the treading process. Many port producers still use the traditional method some of their wines, including Quinta de la Rosa. It sounds like a real blast to watch or take part in, but of course our visit was too early in the year to see the festivities that apparently go along with crush.

Our tour finished with a visit to the tasting room where Adalina poured several port and table wines: red and white wine, and white, ruby, and tawny port. One of these, Passagem, was from Quinta das Bandeiras, a recent joint venture between the Berqvist family, the owners of Quinta de la Rosa, and Jorge Moreira. The wine has yet to be exported, so it won't be in the states any time soon. That's one of the beauties, but also a sad part of travelling to wine area: you get to taste a lot of great wines you would otherwise not have the chance buy, but it sure sucks after you've poured that last souvenir bottle. Passagem is made mainly from Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, are grown up the river from Pinhao, in the Douro Superior, near Pocinho. I was too busy enjoying myself and tasting wine to take any notes, but suffice it to say, Passagem is a tasty wine. We’re holding on to a bottle to drink later on.

We The quinta offers a three-course dinners, which naturally comes with several of their port wines. Sounded like good idea. This...was delicious! The white port was served with cheese and that was pretty tasty. Dessert was a sort of flan with a 10 or 20 year old tawny. But the main dish was great! It looked almost like a cod au gratin, and it was loaded with cod and cheese and filled with creamy goodness.

Oh, and then there was the pool. It was a bit cool and looked as if it hadn't been cleaned for a few weeks (some leaves and a few small floaties, but not dirty), but hanging out the lounge chairs was still great. Several hours there was the perfect bit of needed relaxation: sun, solitude, wine, view of the vineyards across the river. Perfect! The quinta was a nice, rustic place to just relax for a few days. Though there were other guests, most of the time we felt like we were the only guests; we saw the others at breakfast and once at the pool. For having made plans over the internet, we lucked out on this place.

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