Yes – this IS the place on the wine bottle. No – its NOT where they produce, or ever produced, the famous rosé wine. In the 1940’s, the company developing this new wine needed a marketing ploy and approached the owners of the Mateus estate for the name and image. The story goes that they offered a lump sum up front or 50% of the royalties – the family went for the lump sum!!! Aaahhhh…. MISTAKE! No longer as fashionable as it once was, the wine is still probably the best known rosé in the world.
(Another piece of trivia – the famous building is not actually a palace – according to Portuguese law, royalty needs to spend a night in a building before the title ‘palace’ can be designated).
You can take a guided tour of the house or just opt for the gardens – which is what we did. The Baroque facade of granite and white stucco IS impressive and reflects beautifully in the ornamental lake.
The estate produces its own wine. The have a wine cellar and offer the usual wine tasting packages to visitors.
The gardens are formal with hedges, arches, roses and statues aplenty.
Guided tours of the house are offered in several languages. You should book ahead if possible. Photography is not permitted inside.
The tour of the house costs €13.00 while the gardens on their own (no guide) cost €8.50.
Don’t drive into the estate – there is a parking fee of €8.50. Park along the road outside and walk back.
If you have time, then go to the cafe straight across from the entrance and try the codfish gratin!! YUM! (its very filling so if you’re with someone then just order one with a salad and share – with a glass of Mateus of course!)