Malhadinha Nova is a dream come true. The dream of founding family Soares to produce world-class wines and crafting an outstanding wine experience in Portugal’s beautiful Alentejo. And the best of all, they are happy to share their dream with the whole world.
The skies had finally cleared after the torrential rains in the morning, that had forced us to change plans and head directly into the southern Alentejo and our home for the next two days, Herdade da Malhadinha Nova Country House and Spa.
With just few more kilometres left- according to our GPS – our spirits lifted in anticipation of some downtown on the terrace, glass of wine in hand. That was until the damn navi announced ‘you have reached your destination’!
We have what? No way!
We were still on the local motorway with nowhere to exit. True, looking to the right we could actually see the unpaved road leading towards the winery. How to get there was a totally different story though.
After navigating some of the surrounding small roads and driving into Albernoa, the closest town to Malhadinha Nova, hoping this would lead us to the winery bud didn’t. Significantly more than an hour later, after consulting Google maps and asking for directions, we finally made it.
So for your ease to getting there, you need to exit IP2 at the sign ‘turismo rural’ about four kilometres after you have passed the town of Albernoa, which will lead you on a bridge crossing over IP2. From there, keep following the signs ‘turismo rural’ and ‘adega’.
Surrounded by 600 hectares of vineyards and olive groves, Herdade da Malhadinha Nova encompasses the private house of the Soares family, the winery, a restaurant and the hotel.
In addition to growing and making excellent wine and olive oil, the Soares family breeds heritage Alentejana cattle and black pigs on the estate as well. There is also a stud farm, which is another of their ambitions come true.
The 10-room Malhadinha Country House & Spa is located on a small hillside about two kilometres from the winery.
Don’t expect a full-fledge luxury hotel. It is indeed what the name says, a family-managed small country house. It is looked after by staff that acts more like your friends inviting you into their weekend house rather than providing the polished guest service you are used from renowned brands.
Though rooms are a bid on the small side I loved the minimalistic rural design. Here too what counts most is the attention to detail, from the constantly re-filled complimentary water bottle next to your bed to the bowl of hot water accompanied by a lovely herbal tea mixture put in the room just before you return from dinner, to brew yourself a cup for a good night’s sleep.
Despite the small size of the room, the bathroom was actually quite spacious, coming with all the amenities you would expect.
I loved that our room went out directly onto the terrace, overlooking the gorgeous infinity pool.
The gorgeous main room of the country house hosts a well stocked bar, a sitting area with large, plush sofas and a huge fireplace and a small library corner with a shelf stocked full of all sorts of books from fiction to history and to my delight books about Portugal and local wineries.
Malhadinha Nova is a place that tempts guest to do absolutely nothing, lazily lying next to the infinity pool and take in the incredible Alentejo views.
But if you really can’t resist doing nothing, the hotel offers a huge range of activities, from cooking and wine classes to helping during the harvest (if you are there at the right time), photography classes and excursions on quad bikes or the estates own horses into the surrounding vineyards.
Alternatively, take advantage of the large Spa menu.
Hotel guests are also treated to a private free wine tasting at the lovely wine tasting room. It will start by a short drive through the vineyards and a cellar tour where you can see the wine making process.
Staff will serve you a light meal at the Country House on request, and there is always plenty of wine available for a nice long break on the terrace.
For dinner, however, you should definitely head to the Wine & Gourmet Restaurant located in the cellar building. It is consulted by Michelin-star chef Joachim Koeper, working with on-site chef Bruno Antunes and offers seasonal menus focused on traditional Alentejo cuisine. A wide range of the produce is coming from the Malhadinha Nova estate or is otherwise locally sourced.
In the morning, a breakfast buffet is served in the main room including fresh pastries, cuts of local ham and cheese, fresh fruits, cereals and yoghurt.
I had a wonderful time at Herdade da Malhadinha Nova … to the point I am already looking forward to my next visit.
Herdade Da Malhadinha Nova
7800-601 Albernoa. Beja – Portugal
GPS: 37° 49′ 50.60″N, 7° 59′ 20.91″ W