The Region of Colares Demarcated since 1908
It is the westernmost Demarcated Region in continental Europe and the smallest producing region of still wines in the country. An original viticulture with unusual and ancient cultural techniques!
Bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south by the Sintra Mountain, 25 km northwest of Lisbon, the Colares Demarcated Region includes the old parishes of Colares, São João das Lampas and São Martinho, in the Sintra municipality.
A BIT OF HISTORYPhylloxera, the plague that Colares does not know!
There are documents proving the existence of vineyards in this region in the 12th century (Afonso Henriques, first Portugal king). Historians attribute the introduction of the ‘Ramisco’ variety to king Afonso III (13th century), who supposedly brought it from northern France (Boulogne) where he lived for some time.
The same king promoted the planting of vineyards in Colares and instituted fines for those who uprooted vines. His son (king Dinis, 13-14lh century) subjected the moorish owners of Colares lands to o tax that was to be paid partly in wine from this region. The first documented Colares wine export was made in 1367. It was often taken in sea voyages to India (l6th century), due to its long life. In the 16th century, this region yielded enough wine to cover all the demand in Portugal.
The Portuguese oenologist Ferreira Lapa (19th century) has said about this wine: “Colares is the [Portuguese] wine that resembles French wines most”.
In 1865, phylloxera entered the northern part of the country and decimated much of the European vineyards. In Colares, the grape varieties installed in sandy soil resisted this plague, that feature brought a large expansion of viticulture in this region.
The reason: the insect cannot reach the roots of the vines due to the depth to which they are planted. The enormous layer of sand that exists between the surface and the clay acts like a natural barrier against the lice.
Till today, Colares maintains all the genetic originality of European Vitis and its native varieties, as we do not need to use the American Vitis rootstock to control the pest. Our sand vines are not grafted, so they are all “pé-franco”.
At the beginning of the 20th century, in 1908, Colares become legally a Demarcated Region.
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