It all began with an idea, at the time rather absurd, to produce great white wines from the Loureiro grape variety. This was our principal objective. We wanted to concentrate on the production of new and different wines starting with this fabulous varietal. The specialization and concentration on Loureiro with new ideas and nuances had begun at Quinta do Ameal….
It is important to underline that when we began, this grape variety had been completely forgotten in the production of niche wines and was used principally in wines produced in bulk quantities. However at Quinta do Ameal, the dream was to produce great white wines.
We also recall that at the beginning of our project we were told by many that this grape variety was not very good and that the wines would not last more than 6 months. It is therefore with extreme satisfaction and pleasure that it is evident today that the Quinta do Ameal wines have an excellent aging potential. We constantly taste and give tastings of old vintages some more than 14 years old and the wines are sensational! As from the 4th to 5th year the wines begin to develop very similar aromatic characteristics with some wines with the same age such as Rieslings from Alsace or Semillons from the Australian Hunter Valley.
The attention of our work is focused on everything that involves the production of quality wines but principally in all the details at the various phases of production. In the vineyard pruning is rigorous and numerous steps are carried out while the vines are still young. When necessary bunches are thinned out limiting the yield to approximately 5 tons a hectare (the normal average yield for Loureiro is 15 tons per hectare). The strict selection of grapes is fundamental in the making of good attractive and complex white wine. The vintage is carried out manually in 22 kilo boxes.
Above all what really drives our wine production business is the constant search for perfection, for excellence and for personalisation of our wines. The numbers are obviously important but this is not what we really like doing –for us this is not only a business but definitely a way of life.
Every job, whatever it is, is always given double attention and is carried out with the greatest commitment and enthusiasm while always learning something that allows us to do better the next time. We try to ensure an improvement in quality with each small step (at times large). To invent and create gives us real pleasure!
For us this type of wine production is not an industrial process, but more like a “gourmet” restaurant. Likewise we are the chefs of a truly "cuisine d'auteur" working with the best ingredients – the grapes grown on our vines.
We believe that only small wine producers have the possibility to oversee all the details and also play a large part personally in achieving excellence in an industry that only deals in large volumes.
In 2005 we took an enormous step for the quality of Ameal wines and made the commitment to produce our grapes organically. It was a logical step for an ecological and quality wine. We use do not use herbicides, synthetic pesticides nor chemical fertilizers and therefore give special attention to soil treatments. Even more importantly we adopt a pro-active management style and understanding of the ecosystem to achieve the best natural balance for our vineyard. The idea is to encourage biodiversity permitting and controlling the growth of specific “natural” weeds. These weeds provide the soil with rich minerals, which nourish the vines.
To finish off the most important thing is that Quinta do Ameal is an unique and marvelous place, out of the ordinary in its production of quality grapes. Only this way are we able to create fantastic wines that strive to achieve excellence. Places such as these are difficult to find but we have been lucky and seem to have find one!
Many things can be said and told but I prefer to invite you to drink a glass of Ameal, or even better pay us a visit and see for yourself in loco what we are doing and building