Quinta das Arcas was founded in the 1980s by Esteves Monteiro to produce Vinho Verde. At the turn of the century, the company expanded south to the Alentejo town of Borba with a new project, Herdade Penedo Gordo, of 100 hectares of vineyards surrounding a modern winery. Esteves works alongside his wife, Lisete Oliveira, and their sons, Antònio and Màrio.
Although the Alentejo is one of the largest wine regions in Portugal, only a few of its sub-regions are able to produce high quality wines. The climate in the best sub-regions is typically continental with a balance of hot and dry summers with harsh winters. The soil is schist and clay with irrigation. All of Herdade Penedo Gordo’s grapes are grown under the IPM system, which reduces the use of chemicals and protects animal species living among the vines.
The 17-year old vines for this bold wine are 40% Alicante Bouschet, 30% Touriga Nacional, 20% Aragonez (Tempranillo), and 10% Trincadeira. Yields are restricted to 3.57 tons/acre, and harvesting is part manual and part by machine. Alcoholic fermentations takes ten days in a combination of stainless steel and cask at 73 degrees, after which malolactic fermentation occurs at a slightly cooler temperature. The wine is then aged in 2nd year French barrique for four months before it is cold-stabilized and filtered. The recommended serving temperature is 61 degrees.