Thursday, October 2, 2014

José Maria da Fonseca & The Quinta da Bacalhôa

José Maria da Fonseca Winery

José Maria da Fonseca is the oldest table wine company in Portugal. Founded in 1834, it is now in its 7th generation and sells its wines in all continents. Among its best known wine brands are Periquita and Lancers. The winery is in the charming village of Vila Nogueira de Azeitão.

Jose Maria da Fonseca Manor House: Built in the nineteenth century, the house was restored in 1923 by the Swiss architect, Ernesto Korrodi, and was the Soares Franco family residence until 1974.

A must-see is the Setúbal Moscatel cellar, in which wines as old as the company itself slumber in the hallowed and tranquil vault. These Setúbal Moscatels belong to the private collection of the Soares Franco family.


The Quinta da Bacalhôa estate

The Quinta da Bacalhôa estate, formerly belonging to the Portuguese royal family, dates back to the first half of the XV Century, and is considered to be the most beautiful Portuguese estate from this era still in existence today. Situated in Azeitão, the estate and the famous Bacalhôa Palace together constitute an artistic monument of the greatest relevance to the country.

It is highly likely that "Bacalhôa", by which the old Vila Fresca estate in Azeitão became known, originated from the fact that the wife of Dom Jerónimo Manuel was referred to by this name, the female form of "Codfish". This estate was established as one of the artistic treasures of Portugal. In 1936, the Bacalhôa Palace was bought and restored by Orlena Scoville, a North American. In the 1970's her grandson set about transforming the property into one of the largest producers of wine in Portugal.

Currently, the Bacalhôa estate belongs to the Berardo Foundation, led by the Berardo family, the head of which is "Comendador" José Berardo. It was classified a National Monument in 1996 by the Institute of Management for Architectural and Archaeological Heritage.

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