Casa de Sezim – Antique Wallpaper and Vinho Verde
A few weeks before Christmas 2014 Mr. L, our son Ollie and I took a trip to Guimaraes. A beautiful historic town in the North of Portugal. Arriving in the town we were struck by the ‘Dickens’ like ambience with the many squares tree lined and “dripping” with soft lighting. A breath of fresh air for those who crave for a little extra traditional Christmas spirit in Portugal. We wandered the streets for awhile just to drink the atmosphere.
However our main mission was a true gem situated outside the centre of Guimaraes – Casa de Sezim. It is this beautiful pink manor (Solar) owned by the same family since 1376, that we had chosen as our overnight stay.
On arrival it turns out to be lunchtime and there’s nobody around to welcome us for almost 20 minutes. Well, this gave us the opportunity to explore the premises. As always Mr. L doesn’t feel any reluctance to undertake illegal activities. As usual Ollie and I (once a law student) follow behind him with some nervous sniggering… Upstairs and downstairs we went.
Aha, so this was the lifestyle the Portuguese aristocracy once had…You are cast back to a time of carriages, servants, huge fireplaces – where one could imagine a whole tree burning and there were tall statues of then still exotic foreign people.
In the living and dining rooms (turned out that guests also are allowed “legal” visits …) one can find French wallpaper from the early 19th century. It is said it’s the oldest hand painted wall paper still plastered on walls in Portugal with images from times before. Here and there’s a piece peeling down, but the effect is still grand.
All the rooms are filled with ornate furniture. Expensive trinkets are still in place as if the lord and lady of the house could return at any moment from the ball.
Our bedroom is large and yellow with crisp white sheets, creaky wooden floors and a large alcove where an antique cot fits. Our bathroom, however is very small. It requires of Mr. L, who is around 1.95 meters, some truly acrobatic moves to take a bath.
In the evening, in the lounge, by the roaring fire, we strike up conversation with the owner António Pinto de Mesquita. He talked about the burden of family property and the costs involved with the ongoing maintenance. To keep such a wonderful home the new generation decided to revive the wine making. They invested in new equipment to modernise the operation. Now they regularly organise wine tasting and tours around the estate for their guests.
Without any hesitation he opened one after another bottle Vinho Verde Grande Escolha Branco and it became later and later …
The Casa Grande de Sezim Escolha Branco 2013, we were offered is a Vinho Verde as it should be. Tasty, fresh, light (13%), dry with a little sparkle. You taste tropical fruits and a hint of apple.
The wine has won several awards. It has been for example be shown in the International competition of Lyon in 2014 and won the silver medal. A wine that you will enjoy with some savoury bites or a light lunch (fish).
Start drinking this wine on a summer’s day and you’ll notice one bottle will be not enough …
The next morning we were served, in the same lounge room, a delicious breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice and some fresh eggs from the stray chickens in the yard. In summer you can enjoy your breakfast on a beautiful veranda, lined with cast iron fence, overlooking a beautiful garden with a tennis court and a pool.
Unfortunately António can not be tempted to organize weddings at Casa de Sezim. There is no great hall and they don’t want to disturb the holiday guests.
But I can happily serve their Vinho Verde at the weddings and events of Lusitano Weddings … I took as many cases with me as fitted in our car.
Solar: Privately owned stately manor house (8 rooms),winery
Price Range : from € 110, per night per double room
World heritage, Romantic, Pets are welcome, winery
Casa de Sezim
Rua de Sezim, Guimaraes
Airport – Porto about 45 minutes by car