Legend has it that Santa Luzia appeared to some shepherds in the region of Pias – Serpa, near an olive tree, and told them to build a chapel for her veneration. The name Monte da Capela derives from this chapel built in the 16th century on their land and in memory of the patron saint who is still the inspiration for festivals throughout the region.
The tradition of the story is repeated in wine. Monte da Capela was the result of the inventiveness, acumen and accumulated experience of its partners. Achieving leadership of the largest companies in the wine and Alentejo promotion sector was the motivation to develop a personal project that drew on the best of the Pias terroir and Alentejo grape varieties to create wines that are unique in concentration of color and aroma.
Monte da Capela is located in the Alentejo wine region. Located in the Moura sub-region, concretely in Pias, municipality of Serpa.
Moura has characteristics of marked continentality. The climate is characterized by high values of maximum temperatures, low rainfall (500 mm/year) and high thermal amplitudes. The sunshine values exceed 3,000 hours/year. The insolation is very high particularly in the quarter before the harvest, contributing to the perfect maturation of the grapes and the quality of the wines.
Interestingly, as Clara Roque Vale tells us, this region produces so much quality that “there are now more than two hundred brands of Pias, when in reality there are only eight of them that are actually from the region”. And all this can be done “legally” because the term Pias is not protected. For this reason the company started to produce other brands, namely “Monte da Capela”. This subregion covers parts of the municipalities of Moura and Serpa. Two wine production centers shall be mentioned: one, near Moura and another, with a lot of prestige, located near Pias, municipality of Serpa. It is located in Baixo Alentejo inland, on the left bank of the River Guadiana, near the border with Spain.
Where does the difference come from?
Monte da Capela is located in the Moura sub-region on the left bank of the River Guadiana, the warmest region of Portugal. The terroir is based on limestone soils and in the unique climate of the Pias region, capable of producing wines with concentrated aroma and flavor.
The Herdade was acquired in the year 2000, having been completely replanted, explains Edgar Azevedo, who says that new grape varieties have been introduced to suit the taste of the great consumers. Red grape varieties: Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Nacional; White grape varieties: Antão Vaz and Arinto.
Clara Roque do Vale clarifies that all the vineyards of the company are prepared for the production of DOC Alentejo wines.
The grapes are planted on limestone soils, which are not very fertile and on slopes with a considerable slope, which, together with the type of grape varieties, cultural techniques and climate, give the wines characteristics sui generis and of great quality. The wines from that region are strong and concentrated wines, in color and aroma. As of 2010 the winemaking began to be produced in their own cellar built at that time.
For Clara Roque do Vale there is still a lot to do for Portuguese wines, “Portugal is still not recognized as a quality producer. Although we win many prizes, when you have to decide between a French and a Portuguese, the choice is almost always French”. So there is a job that is already being done but has to continue.
Carlos Roque do Vale
Founder and director of major producers of Alentejo wines. He held chairmanship positions in one of the largest cooperatives in the Alentejo for nine years, and founded one of the region’s largest private producers. He was a member of the General Council of the Alentejo Regional Winegrowing Commission and a director of the Technical Association of Alentejo Winegrowers.
Clara Roque do Vale
An agronomist, she occupied various senior management positions in organisations such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Alentejo Regional Winegrowing Commission (CVR) for 12 years. She has been president of the National Association of Denominations of Origin of Wine, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Institute of Vineyards and Wine and of the General Assembly of Vini Portugal.
Extensive experience in the sales area in the bottle industry as a supplier to the wine sector. He is the company’s founding partner.