Mario and Catarina's Wines
Father-daughter duo showcasing the magic of the Douro Valley
- On the banks of the Douro river lies Quinta das Amendoeiras. Home to the Negreiros family for generations, it was handed down to Mario in 2002 whose dream it was to make wine under the family name - rather than see the grapes carted off to Cockburns porthouse.
- Just two years later the first ‘Negreiros’ wine appeared. Shortly after that a group of our Archangels came across them on a tasting trip and, as the saying goes, the rest is history!
- By 2017, production had grown 400%. Luckily Mario’s daughter, Catarina, couldn’t wait to start helping out and they became an unbeatable father-daughter duo. Their talent spilled over from winemaking into hospitality when they opened their own B&B in the stunning grounds of Quinta das Amendoeiras - time to grab your passport and head for Portugal!
Map of the Vineyard
Mario Negreiros's Story
"Negreiros wine was the second most important practical consequence of the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit, which happened in June 1999 in Rio de Janeiro. Yes, indeed. And it's a true story - though unlikely - of love.
That year I was a correspondent of a Portuguese newspaper in Brazil and was sent to cover the summit. Another Portuguese newspaper sent its Brussels correspondent to cover the same summit. We never had seen. She smiled and I fell in love. After the summit, each went back to our lives- mine, in Rio; hers in Brussels. A huge Atlantic between us. It was by e-mail that I won her love (I write better in Portuguese). In May 2000 we met in Portugal for the first time since I declared my love. Then again we returned, both to our separate lives. We still had the Atlantic between us until 2002. But it was impossible to live with it. We had to live together, and the union had to happen in Portugal.
When I told my father, Joaquin, the intention of returning to Portugal, he challenged me to take over management of the Quinta das Amendoeiras, bought by my grandfather some 70 years ago. Historically, we sold the grapes of Quinta das Amendoeiras to Cockburn's port wine. The plan of my father was to use our best grapes to make our own wine. And so, in 2004, five years after the Rio Summit, Negreiros wine was born.
I knew nothing of this wonderful industry, but at least I knew I did not. So, I hired the services of the eonologist Anselmo Mendes. It was he who conceived the cellar of Negreiros, and it was he who made Negreiros 2004 and 2005. In 2006 it was a tragedy. We had wine with 18% alcohol, a unbalanced wine, very bad. That year, we did not sell a single bottle of Negreiros. We sell it all by the litre, without our brand. And so it will always be: in good years, we will make more Negreiros, in bad years, we will make less Negreiros and in horrible years we will not do any Negreiros. So you can believe that if there is Negreiros, it´s good.
Anselmo is a great winemaker, but we noticed in 2006 that we needed someone who could be more present in all stages. Then we resorted to João Brito e Cunha, who is also a great eonologist, but, unlike Anselmo, concentrates its work in the Upper Douro and therefore can be closer to each producer for whom he works.
Where is João Brito e Cunha who "draws" the Negreiros, I´m who put the hands (and feet) on it. If you want a definition of what a eonologist is, mine is "the person to whom we pay to give us orders." And I deliver them with great pleasure. It's the part of this profession that gives me more pleasure - to make the wine. It is very unlikely to open a bottle of Negreiros which doesn’t have some, literally, of my DNA. Yes, because this is an industry that involves much physical contact, some of my cells must be, all happy, in bottles of Negreiros.
The result is an extremely personal wine, which has behind it a story, lots of zeal, lots of pride, lots of involvement, lots of love and also some grapes.
The reward for our dedication comes from compliments of the consumers and reviewers, and from the Gold Medal in the only contest in which we enrolled the Negreiros wine - the International Competition of Mountain Wine, in Courmayeur (Italy).
Oh, I almost forgot to say: the most important practical consequence of the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit is called Eva, is five years old, and is my youngest daughter.
Mario and Catarina's Archangels
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