Menina d’uva

Trás-os-Montes, Portugal

The Story

In 2017, Aline Domingues left Paris for Uva, a remote village on the Planalto Mirandês, a quiet and mostly desolate countryside in northeast Portugal. Born in 1989, in Cergy, a small suburb about twenty-five kilometers northwest of the center of Paris, she was the youngest of four children born to Portuguese parents. Immigrants from Uva, a minuscule and impoverished ancient village only thirty kilometer from the border of Spain, they came to France in search of better economic prosperity and to escape the dictatorship, like so many Portuguese in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Scientist First, Vigneron Second

Before Aline cut her own first vine and crafted her wine, she became a scientist. She spent seven years between the Universities of Paris Diderot, Dijon, Cergy, and Orléans. During that time, she earned an impressive haul of three Masters degrees in Molecular Biology, Fermentation Science, and QHSE (Quality Health Safety Environment)—the latter of which was more focused on workplace management. Read more

Lay of the Land

Lost in Portugal? You are not alone…

If the Trás-os-Montes or, for that matter, any Portuguese wines are new to you, you are in the same boat as a lot of wine professionals and consumers. Frankly, I consider myself ignorant on the subject given that the vast majority of my wine life has been focused on the wines of France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and more recently Northwestern Spain. But what keeps wine interesting to most of us is that there’s always something new around this subject; it’s a choose-your-own-adventure that always reminds us how little we know about the subject no matter how long we study it. Trás-os-Montes is the obscure within the already globally obscure world of Portuguese wines. (There’s even a wine from the Trás-os-Montes aptly named, The Lost Corner.) This is a consequence of many historical factors, including vine diseases, phylloxera, alien mildews from the new world, wars, poverty, and a dictatorship; you know, the typical European wine region challenges. Also, the commercial wines in Trás-os-Montes perhaps are and may have always been too rustic for the American wine consumer weaned on fruit-forward domestic wines, other more enologically polished wines from famous European regions, as well as various new world wines with more common grape names and familiar euro-phonetics found inside American culture. Read more