Caminhos Cruzados - Dão Region
I meet Lijia Santos at Os Antonios Restaurants in Nelas in the Dão area of Portugal. She's vibrant and warm and radiates a bubbly, professional demeanor. Her English is astounding, I was shocked at the near-native way she handled the language. She studied law and worked briefly as a lawyer, but preferred to use her knowledge in her own family business. We begin our interview over some wonderful codfish (Bacalhau) starters and rabbit stew main dish accompanied by her own Caminhos Cruzados red, which is a 2014 Alfrocheiro ID. D.O.P. Truly a perfect match.
“Every time two paths cross, something fantastic can happen.”
Caminhos Cruzados, or “Crossed Paths” in English, was a project Lijia, her father Paulo Santos, and the entire Santos family began in order to return to its origins and invest in the world of wine. They wanted to create a truly modern wine-producing enterprise which could transform the local agricultural traditions.
The company, its vineyards, and wine cellar are all located in Dão, in the Beira Alta region in the north of Portugal - more specifically in Nelas. The Dão region is protected from the winds by the Do Caramulo, Montemuro, Bucaco and Estrela, thus creating some excellent geographical conditions for the vines.
With the help of enologists Carlos Magalhaes & Manuel Vieira, they began making wines that were quickly recognized for their quality and excellent variety of vines, all located in the Dão region. Dão is one of the most coveted wine areas of Europe. Vineyards of this region are situated at an ideal altitude between 400 and 700. They have a fair amount of sunshine, but nothing compared to its cousin in the south, Alentejo. The soil is composed of shallow granitic rocks, where the pine forests abound, producing wines with high aging capability. They present a wide variety of grapes you may have heard of; including the red varieties Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and Tints Roriz and the white varieties Encruzado, Bical, Cercial, Malvasia Fina and Verdelho.
The Journey is the Destination
The philosophy of the company is based on the production of quality wines, with a Tradition allied to both modernism and the constant differentiation that the market demands.
The name comes from the familiar thought that life is not always lived best by taking the path laid out for us. On the contrary, there are more twists and forks on the road that lead us to incredible places. Their zen-like motto is that every time two paths cross, something fantastic can happen. This is true even with the members of the family, all with different backgrounds and experiences, whose paths intersect in the project Crossed paths. From The family itself to the delightful notes poured from every bottle, Lijia and Caminhos Cruzados are a reminder of the ease and grace with which life brings fruition.