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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Esporão Portuguese Wine Dinner -Friday June 22nd, 2012. 7pm
What: Esporão Portuguese Wine Dinner
When: Friday June 22nd, 2012. 7pm
Where: Aroma Thyme Bistro, 165 Canal St Ellenville NY
Details: four courses paired with the wines of Esparao. $49 per person, RSVP at 845 647-3000.
Antao Vaz, Roupeiro & Arinto 2010
White Gazpacho & Crab
Quatro Casta 2012
Seared Cornmeal & Manchengo
Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah & Native Grapes 2008
Port & Chocolate
Situated in Reguengos de Monsaraz, Herdade do Esporão is a place that exudes history. Its roots date back to the pre-historic times of megalithic cultures and the Bronze Age. However, even during the Roman occupation, the wines of the Esporão settlement were exported throughout the Empire.
At the heart of this estate, and in the scorching Alentejo heat, we find the Esporão Fortified Enclosure, which includes the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Chapel and a curious fortified gate, with a winding staircase that leads up to the ramparts.
The Esporão Tower – Historical Roots
The Tower of Esporão is one of the most important towers built during the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern era. It is thought to have been built by Morgado Álvaro Mendes de Vasconcelos between 1457, the date he inherited the property, and 1490, the year he died. This is the conclusion of the historian José Pires Gonçalves, based on the architectural style and the location of the Tower.
Álvaro Mendes came from an increasingly influential family of nobles linked to the powerful House of Bragança, having earlier been a knight in the household of the Duke of Bragança and governor of the city of Évora.
The construction of the Tower of Esporão can therefore be seen as tangible proof of his aristocratic aspirations. As such, it represented a desire to assert the new lineage, an assertion that was customarily expressed by the building of a tower or keep, as a symbol of the family’s status in society.
The main purpose of such towers had originally been for housing; however, by the end of the 15th century, the towers that existed in Portugal would have been ill-suited to permanent occupation, as they were limited in size.
They may have also been used as safe refuges for people and goods in times of need. Above all, they were a symbol of lordship and military power.
The importance that medieval towers regained at the end of the Middle Ages can be seen in the above-mentioned Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Chapel: its existence not only indicated that their owners had begun to use them more, but also that the area where they were built had taken on a sacred-like importance.
With its quadrilateral form, the Tower of Esporão is unusual in its size, measuring 14.4 x 10.9 metres, and is relatively wider in comparison with other towers from before, or even of the same period. In fact, this eventually served as a model for other towers, demonstrating the influence that the Tower of Esporão had on the construction of similar constructions in the Alentejo.
Restoring of the Tower
Over the years, much of the Esporão Tower’s splendour was lost. To remedy this and because it is such an important part of Portuguese heritage, Finagra decided to restore it to its former glory. The Portuguese Architectral Heritage Institute (Instituto Português do Património Arquitectónico -IPPAR) gave authorisation for its restoration and Finagra – at its own expense – began the work on this national monument.
With the project devised by the architect Francisco Manuel Azevedo de Quintanilha e Mendonça, the renovation of the tower involved a team of three specialists: Professor Custódio Vieira da Silva (who was responsible for research and historical aspects of the Tower), the architect Francisco Caldeira Cabral (responsible for the environmental and landscaping aspects) and the engineer João Appleton (who was in charge of al the structural matters).
Work began in January 2003 and the 750,000 Euros invested meant that the Tower regained its former grandeur and importance. Today, it is the symbol of Herdade do Esporão wines.
ABOUT AROMA THYME
Aroma Thyme is known for their "stealth health"(Zagat). The Bistro has an award-winning wine list from Wine Spectator Magazine and over 200 beers. Aroma Thyme is certified green by The Green Restaurant Association. Marcus Guiliano is the chef & owner of Aroma Thyme Bistro located in the bountiful Hudson Valley of New York. Chef Guiliano has been an advocate for over 10 years on healthy, sustainable, local & real food. He found his mission in cooking when he reversed a handful of medical conditions including 28 years of asthma. For more information visit www.chefonamission.com. www.aromathymebistro.com.