The crowd gave the twirling dancers room as they paired up to swing to the folk songs serenading out over the courtyard. The sun was still an hour from setting on a late October Sunday, but the Festival da Nossa Terra at Quinta de Sant’Ana had been galloping along all weekend.
We picked up our glasses at the arch, and made our way to the wine. Because that’s what a harvest festival is all about, indeed–a chance to relax and let loose–and make room in the cellar for the vintage now in the tanks. I made my way through the 2017 Rosé, then an unlabeled white (my guess–Arinto), and then the 2016 Merlot.
Tucked in corners of the quinta’s yard, stretched leitão twirled slowly on spits, giving up their tasty bits to bifanas we ate as we strolled through the vines. We walked out to the horta to watch the sunset from that vantage point, and saw the bounty there as well.
An aging mare stood silently as kids came up to reach in to stroke her nose. Families went past on hayracks pulled by tractors, taking in a tour of the estate’s vineyards as they settle in for a winter’s nap. As we walked through the Pinot Noir on the hill, I found a single, raisining grape hanging from behind a turning leaf. I popped it into my mouth–the best little treat. My fruit for the day.
We returned to the scene of the dancing for the bluegrass band to begin. We found friends, and a glass of 2012 Reserva Tinto to enjoy as we swayed to the music in the deepening chill of the evening. I was glad for everyone around me, holding back the wind and gathering their warmth. Someone handed me a hot doughnut covered with cinnamon sugar, and I licked the afterward from my fingers like I’ve always done, like a child, without guile.
Our evening ended with the jazz band playing, “When The Saints Go Marching In,” a fine exit song for a special celebration. The town, the quinta, all of their friends, together to give thanks for a safe and fine harvest for 2018.