2014 - March : Day visit to Esporão archaeological site, the vineyards and Monsaraz
With an early start on a lovely spring morning a group of 26 members and guests set off for a visit to Esporão, Perdigoes and Monsaraz.
Arriving at the winery of Herdade do Esporão, Iza, our guide took us to view the artefacts and photos of the prehistoric site on their sister winery at Perdigões. These are housed in the medieval tower at Esporão, a vineyard dating back to 1267. The site was discovered in 1996 during work to uproot olive trees in order to plant vines. It is a vast site, consisting of 12 concentric rings of ditches. The surrounding area was occupied for around 1500 years – during the Neolithic and Calcolithic period (4th & 3rd millennium BC). Many artefacts were found in the tunnel graves, including decorated pottery, beads, bones and even ivory carvings. The most attractive being a tiny rabbit. The pottery had detailed etchings of human figures. All were beautifully displayed in the Tower. (we were unable to visit the actual site as it is under cover).
Iza then took us on a lengthy tour of the winery. We descended into the cellars to view endless bottles and kegs of wine. The ‘cave’ was 70 metres long and packed with oak kegs holding a total of 11.000.000 litres! The men were impressed! Wine tasting followed – a treat, and a chance to rest and catch up with all our fellow members.
Monsaraz was our last stop – perched high above the border plains, a tiny fortified village with stunning views of vineyard-.covered plains and the largest man-made lake – the reservoir from the Alqueva dam. Our restaurant, Lumumba, overlooked the reservoir. The vista coupled with the the delicious roast lamb lunch was a bonus after a delightful day.