Let’s start by explaining the date that gives this Casa Villae its name: 1255 refers to the year in which the first records of Taboadella were found, the 41-hectare farm in Silvã de Cima, acquired in 1998 by the Amorim family – and managed by Luísa Amorim, the youngest of the three heir sisters – who, after the Douro and Alentejo, expanded the wine business to the Dão. The history of this place surrounded by forest (also known as silvã, giving its name to the village in the municipality of Sátão) is very old. Wine was already being made in the 1st century, and the proof of this is in an ancient Roman press that is located on a boulder.
Before checking in, we drive through the vineyards (some replanted still in bloom, others almost half a century old, we are told), we can see the beautiful Taboadella winery (see box) and, further on, the foot of the Serra da Estrela. When we put our feet on the ground, only the birds make themselves heard. Once inside the house, the welcome is given with a glass of white Villae 2021, served under a ramada. It won’t be the only one we’ll drink. In fact, as will be seen from now on, wine and vineyards will always be present.
Recently converted into accommodation, this old stone manor house wants to function “as a family home”, and can only be rented in its entirety so that you can better experience the Dão. With a ground floor and two floors, Casa Villae 1255 has eight bedrooms, all with private bathrooms, and one of which has six dormitories, designed for children (after all, the house has a capacity for 19 people), several living room, a large equipped kitchen, where a welcome groceries basket is left, and a wine cellar. On request, they serve a brunch or a tasting menu (€30 per person), on the long table in the room decorated with a textile panel signed by João Bruno Design.
yoga on the grass
The interior decoration was thought out in detail by Ana Vale, in order to tell the story of the place. The benches, chairs and bed backrests are made from typical papaya blankets and produced in Maçaínhas, in Serra da Estrela; there are pieces in burel, ceramics by Maria do Amparo (from Mangualde), old wooden tableware and zinc milk jugs. As in all family homes, there are also (many) books to read in the shade of the strawberry tree on the ramada, board games to relax and even, on any living room furniture, tea and homemade cookies are available.
In the morning, we open the bedroom window shutters to let the sun in. The vineyards – the biggest spot in the Dão region – are right there for sowing. Breakfast, included in the rental of the house, is a journey through the Beiras: regional bread and corn bread, cheeses from Serra da Estrela, jams from Guarda, Loriga’s black cake that competes with the homemade yogurt cake made by Dona Olga. . We didn’t taste everything, we confess, because a yoga class with a view of the vineyards was waiting for us, one of the many experiences available on request. Sitting on mattresses laid out on the grass, they ask us to close our eyes and feel our breath. Inhale, exhale… In this scenario, it is not difficult to concentrate.
Surrounded by stone pines, cork oaks, oaks and cedars, the farm can (and deserves) to be explored on foot, but it is also possible to hitchhike the red Bedford van from 1964 or rent a bicycle. Wine, as we have already written about it here, is everywhere, and anyone who wants to can learn more about its profiles in tastings accompanied by cheese and sausage boards. At Taboadella, everything needs to be appreciated with time, just like visiting a family home.
Quinta da Taboadella > Silvã de Cima, Sátão > T. 232 244 000 / 96 711 6877 > €3 000/house for 19 people (two nights)
Traditional vineyard, modern winery
Architect Carlos Castanheira designed a wine cellar made of wood and cork that speaks to Nature
Large, with a complex, modern and functional design, the Taboadella wine cellar has a lot of wood and a lot of cork, as it could not be otherwise, that covers the exterior wall of the building. The project is by the architect Carlos Castanheira, who made these the materials of choice, focusing on sustainability and the connection to Nature. Surrounded by 41 hectares of vineyards, part of which can be seen from the cellar balcony, it stands out for having a walkway over the barrel room, the Barrel Top Walk (identical to the Tree Top Walk, also by Carlos Castanheira together with Siza Vieira, in Serralves Park, in Porto), built with recycled wood, coming from the forests of Beiras – because, says resident winemaker Rodrigo Costa, “everything here has to do with sustainability and the autochthonous grape varieties” of the Demarcated Region of Mainly Alfrocheiro, Encruzado, Jaen and Touriga-Nacional, the oldest planted 50 years ago, give substance to wines with the Taboadella brand.
During the visit to the winery (which can be guided by the winemaker), you will learn everything about the microterroirs of this region of granitic soils, where the traditional vines are not watered, you will learn about the gravity vinification process, you will visit the Nave das Vats (25 in total, for reds and whites) and the walkway over the barrel room. Wine tastings usually take place at the Wine House, with the cellar room reserved for groups. A toast to Dão!
Taboadella Cellar > Visits Tue-Sat 11:00, 15:00, 17:30 (until October) > visit and wine tasting from €24 (minimum 2 people)