The first organic Algarve wine
The regional magazine ECO123 came to Monte da Casteleja to learn how to produce organic wine:
On the outskirts of Lagos, in Sargaçal, Guillaume Leroux, aged 49, Luso-French – or Franco-Algarve -, has been producing Algarve’s first organic wine since 2012. ECO123 set off to meet him on Monte da Casteleja, the 6.5 hectare estate he inherited from his mother’s side of the family, to find out just what is and how you produce organic wine.
When did you begin this project and with how many hectares of vines?
In 1998. We have 3.5 hectares of vines. My objective was to run a small-scale vineyard on my own scale, farmed by the family and without major labour costs. A small area but producing a top range product and also including an agro-tourism component.
What castes did you choose for your grapes? Indigenous or imported varieties?
I decided to make a local wine with the castes that we traditionally have in the region and that I already know. At that time, there were not many good examples of quality wines from the Algarve. There was plenty of Periquita with which I did not greatly identify. I chose Bastardo for the reds, an old caste from the Douro and the Dão regions and that makes ‘Bastardinho’ in Sagres, a famous liquor. Perrum, the base grape for the wines from Cartuxa, and Arinto were chosen for the whites. As I wanted to make blended wines, I ended up also planting Alfrocheiro to go along with Bastardo as they make a good match.
Thank you once again to José and Uwe for the excellent article on Monte da Casteleja and our organic wines, ECO123 September 2014 edition.