Thanks to the countless foreigners that visit or decided to stay in the South of Portugal, the wines from the Algarve have been increasing their appeal among international consumers. Situated in Silves, Quinta João Clara, with some other well-known producers, contributes enthusiastically for this fact and is already considered one of the most important pioneers in the region.
It is not easy to imagine what João Maria Alves, to whom everybody used to call João Clara, could have been thinking when, in 1975 got involved in not only one but two fearless missions. The first one was to acquire a 28 hectares estate in the worst year of the Portuguese revolution. The second was to cultivate grapes, in that very same estate, in order to produce high quality wines, challenging the local customs.
Forty years later, there are absolutely no doubts that the courage of the founder has proved to be fruitful. The Estate, managed by João Clara’s descendants, stands out among the most respected producers from the Algarve.
Situated in Alcantarilha, Silves, it has a terroir of clay soil and mild, Mediterranean climate. Two vine varieties typical for consumption were introduced first: Negra mole, born from a blend of Pinot Noir with Grenache and CratoBranco, called Síria or Roupeiro in other latitudes. Plots of Trincadeira, Aragonês, Syrah, Alicante Bouschet and, by grafting, the superb Touriga Nacional were planted after, aiming at the recreation a contemporaneous wine profile.
The white vine varieties have deserved a more extemporaneous attention. In 2010 plots of Arinto, Verdelho, Alvarinho and Moscatel would emerge.
The exquisite current portfolio arises from this bunch of vine varieties. It is divided into two brands: João Clara, itself, that gathers the premium wines of the winery and the label 'Às Claras that identifies a white and a red for the informal consumer. They all are the result of harvest by hand and winemaking with temperature control in steel barrels in the cellar of the estate, under the supervision of oenologists Joana and António Maçanita.
The João Clara wines line up in Red, White and Rosé. Reserva Homenagem 2009, Reserva 2010 and the mono varietal João Clara Negra Mole 2011 complement the portfolio. They are elegant and very aromatic wines that, year after year have been widely recognized in festivals.
In 2015, not wishing to be exhaustive, the Confraria dos Gastrónomos do Algarve has considered João Clara's Red as “wine of the Algarve 2015”. The White 2014 was awarded with the silver medal in the Wine & Spirits Awards 2015. The Rosé and the João Clara Homenagem 2009 won the gold medal in the same event. Other distinctions have already been earned in previous years in Decanter World Awards, International Wine Challenge or Concours Mondial Mondial de Bruxelles, among others.
In Quinta João Clara, the virtuous wine cycle is observed with serenity. After all, four decades ago João Maria Alves, in the fraught year of 1975, had anticipated this revolution.