Quinta do Monte d'Oiro
Quinta do Monte d’Oiro (“Hill of Gold”) was founded by winemaker José Bento dos Santo in 1990. His goal was to develop top-quality wines in a European style while respecting his vineyard’s unique terroir. The wines, which are deep, mineral and personalized, carry the Quinta’s identity, and their unique robust character is a harmonious match with classical and haute cuisines.
Over the past 20 years, Quinta do Monte d’Oiro has achieved international renown, with wines chosen for the Portuguese president’s cellar at the Palácio de Belém, and available at some of the best European and American restaurants, such as the Alain Ducasse Group and the Four Seasons Hotel. Additionally, Monte d’Oiro’s Homenagem a António Carqueijeriro 1999, a wine produced as an homage to a great friend of Bento dos Santos, won an Iberian blind-tasting contest of the best 30 wines from Portugal and Spain. This same wine was part of Madrid’s ”Mythical Wines of the World“ tasting in 2003 and 2004, along with the legendary wines Petrus, Cheval Blanc, Beaucastel, Grange, Vega Sicilia, and Pingus.
Location of Vineyard
Quinta do Monte d’Oiro is located in Estremadura, Alenquer, 30 miles north of Lisbon. The area has been praised in various documents dating as far back as the 17th century as a privileged terroir that produces great wines.
The 105-acre vineyard is dedicated to the red grapes Syrah, Cinsaut, Petit Verdot, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz; Viognier is its only white grape. The climate is Mediterranean with Atlantic influence, and the soil composition is clay-limestone.
Strict guidelines and procedures are followed during the production process, which is assisted by Grégory Viennois (Maison M. Chapoutier’s head winemaker). The vineyard is manicured to achieve production in small quantities with very low yields (about 1.5 to 2.6 tons per acre), and grapes are carefully handpicked into 33-pound boxes. Fermentation is rigorously run in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats; long maceration is employed and extended aging occurs in the best new French oak barrels such as Seguin Moreau, Radoux and Taransaud.
José Bento dos Santos is an industrial chemical engineer with an international career as a successful metal broker. His early passion for wine saw him create one the finest cellars in Iberia, which included three decades of purchases from Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In the early 1990s, he decided to turn his passion into his profession, launching the ambitious project of producing world-class wines at Quinta do Monte d’Oiro.
Hand in hand with his love of wine is his interest in gastronomy. Bentos dos Santos is vice-chairman of the International Academy of Gastronomy; gastronomic counsellor of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs; and member of the Psychologues du Goût Academy. He is also one of the Entonneurs Rabelaisiens and a Chevalier du Tastevin.
He was awarded the Commander grade of the Order of Agricultural Merit in 2006 by the president of Portugal and was decorated in 2007 by the French Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. Bentos dos Santos contributes regularly to leading Portuguese and international publications as well as to conferences and seminars such as the “City Tastings” program at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. He has also created and presented two 13-episode TV programs about food and wine: “Wine Secrets” (2004) and “Taste Sense” (2007).