Jaap – The Organic Wine Grower in Algarve since 2010
For a long time we decided to visit Quinta da Rosa, the wine company owned and managed by Jaap, a Dutch gentleman who has moved to the Algarve for over thirty years now and is well known in Silves and the entire region thanks to his reputation as a talented organic wine producer.
We called ”Quinta da rosa” to make an appointment and Jaap answered himself, arranging a visit for Monday of the following week at 14:00.
We are very on time, at 13:55, and after the turn that connects Pinheiro e Garrado to the main road, the navigator informs that we have reached our destination. We see the figure of Jaap waiting for us at the door of his Quinta to welcome us.
We are more than happy to have arrived on time…it would have been a real rudeness to leave him waiting for us under the burning sun!
We enter the gate and, as indicated, we drive slightly uphill a country road that leads us to the house where Jaap lives with his family and where the renowned wine ”Jaap-Quinta da Rosa” is produced. The entrance is lined with a thick line of white and pink oleanders and we see three horses strolling freely in the sandy ground below. With his three dogs, Jaap reaches us at the parking lot and invites to enter the cellar where are kept the barrels of ”carvalho”, the impressive amphorae of ancient clay (of that dark clay that today are no longer found on the market but used for centuries in Portugal as well as in other mediterranean countries) and all the equipment used to produce his wines.
There is more than one reason to be proud of what he does: Jaap has won several gold and silver medals with his wine in competitions held in Portugal, Germany, France and many other countries in Europe, and what is very noteworthy, he produces organic wine that in the Algarve is not yet widespread, although the influence of both consumers and producers is increasing from year to year. Just think that in the Algarve there are only three certified organic wine producers, all concentrated between Silves (Jaap) and Lagos.
* You can arrange a wine tasting session at the vineyard from Monday to Friday at 14:30 by calling Jaap at +351–968986393 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. At the Quinta you are able to buy his wines at a very discounted price compared to restaurants or shops.
Main Prizes and Awards won by Jaap Wines in the last 3 years
For more detailed information about the wine characteristics visit these links:
- Syrah Aragonez Trincadeira 2015: Gold Medal Portugal Wine Trophy 2018
- Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah 2015: Gold Portugal Wine Trophy 2019
- Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Nacional: Gold Medal Berliner Wein Trophy 2020
- 2017 – Uit de kelders van JAAP Anfora: GOLD 93 PAR POINTS – Internationaler bioweinpreis 2019
With great relief for the refreshing coolness of the cellar, we sit at a table and start a long conversation with Jaap.
Asking for forgiveness for the initial question that any foreigner living in the Algarve feels addressed throughout his life as is the case with Jaap, we learn that in his “first life” he lived in Amsterdam as a contractor and stressed by the citylife in 1987 he made the decision to move to the Algarve, going to settle in Monchique and begin his “second life”.
We can barely imagine how Monchique looked like in those distant years and we feel a mixture of nostalgia and envy for not being able to see with our own eyes how life was going on in a real “Aldeia Serrana”, when tourism was not such an intrusive phenomenon, at least in the Algarve.
After a few years Jaap moved to Lagoa and in 2007 he bought two hectares of land in Silves, in Pinheiro e Garrado and began his adventure in the world of viticulture. Without any previous expertise in the field, he decided to concentrate all his efforts here, because to make a quality organic wine, one thing can never miss: the passion for the terroir, intended precisely as putting your hands in the soil, go every day in the vineyard, remove by hands the weeds that grow at the foot of the vine and act promptly to limit the damage caused by pest attacks.
Producing an organic wine at a time when “Biologic” in Algarve was a relatively unknown word, even looked with a hint of distrust by regional producers, was certainly a challenge that required Jaap quite demanding years to improve year after year the production and get to a wine with absolutely distinctive characteristics that have made its success in recent years.
It was not easy to obtain the certification of organic wine at bureaucratic level, Jaap explains, respecting all the necessary requirements of the Portuguese and European law on the matter. At last in 2012 the long-waited and deserved certification arrives and since then the road has been easier, followed by years of satisfaction and rewards for the efforts made so far: we turn our attention to the bottles that appear on display on the table of the conversation and we revisit the awards that his bottles have earned so far. We observe a note of pride and satisfaction that we well understand, especially when Jaap explains to us how an organic production involves a lot more effort than a non-organic wine production: first of all the fight to defend the vines from pests that, as we mentioned, can only be preventive and limited to the use of organic preparations, avoiding the use of pesticides and fungicides.
But it’s not just the limited use of chemicals and farming methods to preserve vines that make a production like this one as laborious and uncertain in terms of output. Climate change also plays a decisive role in this game. The less and less rainy winters and the rising temperatures that are already recorded at the beginning of summer (this year July was the hottest in the last 90 years) have forced to anticipate the beginning of the harvest in mid-August.
This year will not be a good one for Jaap, as presumably for the other organic wine producers in the Algarve. Unfortunately, the heavy rains in April affected the harvest and most of the vines were affected by disease. If to this circumstance, we add the raging Covid-19 pandemic that since March 2020 has hit the whole Algarve and all of Europe hard, then we must believe the old Algarvian people who, with a trellis-like look and almost in a whisper, in fear of being heard by someone, are used to repeat: ”… it’s the leap year!”.
P.S. The Comissão Vitivinícola do Algarve (CVA) has recently launched an interesting website https://www.vinhosdoalgarve.pt/en to delve deeper into Algarvian Wines, its organoleptic charateristics and its grape varieties.