Joaquim Arnaud's story could give a full book, but we are still halfway there. From vineyards and wine to ham and pork from Alentejo, passing through the said pork sausages much remains to be said about this man who, at the age of 18, decided - as they used to say - to drop out of school and dedicate to farming in one of the family properties.
Texto de Patrícia Serrado
Fotografias de Fabrice Demoulin
Let's start with the stories, not least because it is from history that the family name Arnao comes from. Guilherme Arnao, to be more precise, a descendant of the Counts of Arundel, came from England to Portugal at the time with the task of accompanying D. Filipa de Lencastre, then appears in the family tree of Joaquim Arnaud, a man dedicated to the land, with Pavia at the epicenter of their duties. “My family has been in Pavia for more than 500 years!” The properties located in the municipalities of Mora and Arraiolos, in the district of Évora, remain, until today, in the hands of the family and make up a total of 850 hectares. “We have always been farmers,” he says with appreciation. Proof of this is the fact that, in 1991, at the age of 18, he decided to exchange books for agriculture. He then explains that the name Joaquim Arnaud has existed since 1882, a legacy that he preserves with esteem. Let us return to the countryside, where the land deserves respect or it was not Joaquim Arnaud who was fervently convinced of the benefits of organic farming, because “the land does not belong to us, it belongs to our children”, he explains.
This knowledge was acquired through the books of their ancestors, who, since 1880, recorded everything about seedlings, among other subjects inherent to farming. “I started to read everything that was done and did just like that! I had to learn a lot on my own. I am self-taught.”
In their properties, our host planted vines in 2001. Aragonês, Trincadeira, Syrah, and the queen grape, Alicante Bouschet, were the red grape varieties chosen. These are used in Arundel wines. Take into account the white varieties Arinto and Chardonnay to be used in the future, and wines with the same label. The own vineyard totals seven hectares. From the grape on another five hectares of centennial vineyard located in Pavia, where red and white grape varieties from the 2019 harvest, another wine will result.
Wine experiences don't stop there. Joaquim Arnaud talks about the next sparkling wine. This is included in “other people's home-made lots”. After Lisbon and Bairrada, the next one will leave from a winery in Monção made from Alvarinho and Trajadura, two indigenous grape varieties from the Demarcated Region of Vinhos Verdes. “It will be a Sparkling Super Reserve Raw Natur 2015, a special edition of 1900 numbered bottles and which will soon be on the market.” And why Monção? “Because the winery is 500 meters from the bridge where the marriage contract between D. João I and D. Filipa de Lencastre was signed.” The story will be covered on the label.
About Joaquim Arnaud Lisboa, “wines made with grapes bought but vinified by me” will come out this summer, two reds and one white from the 2015 harvest, and Moscatel de Setúbal also continues to be part of its wine portfolio." And, very soon I will have a 2003 vinegar!"
Unstoppable, Joaquim Arnaud also has to follow the creation of Alentejo pigs and Cows (Barrosã, Alentejana, and Alentejo crusaders) to his daily life, to the follow family tradition. Both are in their properties of the two municipalities mentioned above. When he started to dedicate himself to this craft, he started with pork sausages. Chorizo and sausage are cured in Guijuelo, a municipality located in the province of Salamanca, in neighboring Spain, where this traditional process dates back to the 19th century. The curing of Alentejo pork ham is done according to the amount of salt that Joaquim Arnaud finds necessary, the climatic zone being the preponderant requirement in terms of choice. As for beef - for which he has new plans for the future -, Joaquim Arnaud reveals that, in the beginning, “he had to do something different”. That was when “I discovered in Spain they used to conserve salt, that is, where the pieces of the cow are cured in the cold”, more specifically in Leão, where this product is a tradition and has been marketed since 2012, on this side of the border. And, once again, it turns out that the climate is crucial for curing a piece of meat.