Herdade do Cebolal
Herdade do Cebolal is the southernmost estate found within the Setúbal Peninsula 170K south of Lisbon and in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Cool breezes from the Atlantic give freshness and moisture allowing grapes to slowly ripen reaching phenolic maturity while retaining high acidity. The property is located in the valley of two mountains, Serra de Santiago do Cacém to the north and Serra de Cercal to the south. The soil is incredibly varied. Limestone, clay, loam, four different types of schist, chalk, and sand can be found on the estate.
Herdade do Cebolal was founded by Luís Mota Capitão’s great-great-grandfather Caio de Loureiro 150 years ago. Isabel, Luis’ Mother worked on the family estate, the 4th generation winemaker for 20 years. She continues to work alongside Luís, but he is now in charge and has been, at age 32, for more than 10 years.
The Vale das Eguas wines are just two of many different cuvees produced on the estate. All viticulture at Herdade do Cebolal is organic and they use several interesting methods to enhance the soils including gathering seaweed from the nearby Atlantic and employing sheep to keep weeds trimmed and for the manure. To combat the effects of climate change, they are creating an agroforest around their vines which provides shade and sequesters rain water in the soil. They also keep bees so it’s important not to spray insecticides or use chemical herbicides. All grapes are hand harvested and the wines are fermented spontaneously. The wines are fermented in INOX and held 6 months before bottling. A modicum of sulpher is used only before bottling.
The Val das Éguas Tinto is made from Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, and Merlot while the Branco is made with Fernão Pires, Antão Vaz, and Arinto.