One of the things Ernest and I did not do in Portugal last year was visit a winery. This week we took time out to visit the Bacalhoa Winery and palace. The palace was built in 1480, changed ownership many times, was neglected for 200 to 300 years and eventually restored in 1937 by an American woman, Mrs. Orlena Zabriski Scoville. She paid $12,500 for the palace and spent another $7,500 in restoration costs. The asking price at that time was $150,000. She negotiated well. It was a time of war and most of the palace was destroyed and items plundered. She and her family continued to live there until around 1998 when it was sold to another family. Her story is quite remarkable. She entertained royalty and also used the palace to rescue Jewish children during the war. I read a letter where she was asked if she could accommodate 53 children. All of her diaries, cards and letters are intact and kept in the library, so there's a record of what she did during her lifetime.
The special wine of this region is moscatel, which is orange in colour. The wine tasting afterwards proved again that there is no bad wine in Portugal. We were given a sample of the white, red and moscatel and they were all excellent. The young moscatel tastes like a gorgeous blend of an excellent rose and chardonnay. It has an ice wine flavour but is not as thick and as sweet as the ice wine.
Tomorrow we are heading to central Portugal. In the next week and a half we will visit 4 towns. I'm excited as we will meet some people from Canada and the US face to face for a change! We're meeting some Canadians who reached out to us after seeing the Rock Star Realty podcast with us last year. We'll also meet some friends from the United States whom we met virtually during the lockdown. These meetings are going to be so special and I will cherish them.