Meet Jaime Quendera, Winemaker at Cooperativa Santo Isidro de Pegões
In this winemaker's profile we meet Jaime Quendera, manager and head winemaker at Cooperativa Santo Isidro de Pegoes. This cooperative winery is based on the Peninsula de Setubal in Portugal.
Jaime Quendera hails from an established line of winemakers. As a child, he could be found helping his father and grandfather in their winery and the vineyards of the Portuguese Palmela region. Pursuing the family tradition, Jaime studied Agricultural Engineering and later earned a PhD in Wine Marketing, eventually joining the Cooperativa Agrícola Santo Isidro de Pegões in 1994.
Representing the best of Península de Setúbal, the Cooperativa has won over 500 awards both domestically and internationally. In 2000, Jaime became its Senior Oenologist, and manager.
This region, with an established reputation for excellent wine production, is blessed with the reassuring warmth of the Mediterranean sun, the cooling breeze of the Atlantic coast, and its unique soil, known as Pliocenico de Pegões.
The unique composition of the soil is a gift from the Tagus and Sado rivers as they deposit sediments towards the end of their journey. At 626 and 109 miles in length respectively, one can imagine the richness that they have provided to the region over millions of years, creating a sandy soil, abundant in nutrients. This tripartite of essential elements is what makes this region a perfect environment for wine production. Of course, the true potential for such an area cannot be fully realised without the dedication of experienced and knowledgeable winemakers such as Jaime.
In both 1998 and 2006, the Cooperative was judged as the ‘Best Cooperative in Portugal’, an accolade awarded to them by Revista de Vinhos, the leading monthly wine magazine in Portugal. His proudest moment (so far) in wine making is winning the coveted Best Red Wine in the 2008 Vinalies Internationales competition in Paris, with his wine Casa Ermelinda Freitas - Syrah 2005, and again in 2017.
This is a single example amongst a smörgåsbord of quality wine produced by Cooperativa Santo Isidro de Pegões under Jaime’s management, along with 140 winemakers and 1100 hectares of vineyards. One of his better known white wines is the Colheita Seleccionada, Adega de Pegões. This relatively dry wine combines fruity undertones with the oak flavour derived from the American and French barrels they are stored in for three months. The lees are stirred regularly, and then the wine is stored in bottles for six months to a year. On the palate this wine has an elegant finish, coupled with strong flavours and creamy vanilla spice.
Both these wines are truly brilliant ambassadors to Jaime’s knowledge and craftsmanship in the world of winemaking, and both he and his wines are highly sought after. This includes consulting for other producers, including Casa Ermelinda Freitas, Ti Bento, Marcolino Freitas and Quinta de Alcube.
Jaime's ongoing passion means he often works up to 15 hours a day, and certainly shows no signs of slowing down. He sees himself as a chef, constantly looking to both surprise and please his customers using an eclectic mix of both ingredients and methods. An excellent producer of delicious wines, Jaime is certainly an asset to both Novel Wines and our customers.
Profile by John Hanley for Novel Wines.