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From the lovely couple at Casa de Mouraz, Biotite is mostly Loureiro (with 10% Arinto) from certified organic vineyards in the Vinho Verde region, grown on granitic soils in the valley of the Lima River. This is a lovely mineral driven white, and a real eyeopener to the potential of the Vinho Verde wines. Most people just know the spritzy low alcohol whites (from early harvested usually under-ripe grapes), but this is a real wine, made from mature fruit and allowed to ferment naturally for a different kind of expression. Enjoy on its own on a sunny afternoon or with seafood, chicken, vegetables, sushi, salads, and cheeses. Stone fruit, salinity, and good concentration on the mid-palate. 2017 is really a fantastic vintage for this wine! ~Eben Lillie
Not to be confused with the island of Madeira, winemaker Antonio Madeira is dedicated to celebrating the best vineyards in the Dão. He is focused on preserving old vines of native Portuguese varieties and farms his small parcels organically and all by hand. This bottling is a field blend of around twenty different grapes grown on granite soils. It is spontaneously fermented and then aged in ~80% stainless steel, the rest in oak barrels keeping the focus of this wine on the bright acidity and fruit aromas.
A refreshing rose sparkler from Aphros winery, this is a blend of Alvarelhao and Vinhao, made in Pet-Nat (or Ancestral) style. Tasty, fresh, and very pale in the glass, with bright acidity and subtle fruit mingling with hibiscus and rosewater notes. -EL
Casa de Saima is located in the heart of Bairrada , producing cuvees from 18 hectares of vines in the region. Tonel 10 comes from 50-year-old Baga vines from Casa de Saima’s oldest vineyard. The grapes are hand-harvested, crushed by foot, and then allowed to spontaneously ferment in lagar for about seven days. The wine is then matured in large, seasoned oak vats for one year. The result is the lightest cuvée from Casa de Saima. It is a ruby color in the glass with a nose of wild strawberry, cassis, bramble fruit and earth. The palate shows density, but it never overpowers. Showcasing juicy, bright red fruits, terrific acidity and soft tannins, this is a lovely lighter styled Baga. Pair with roasted chicken thighs, lamb burgers, or alheira.
100% Vital from 35 year old vines, planted in Serra de Montejunto, about 10 miles from the Atlantic. The wine is macerated for 3 days and then pressed to ferment with native yeast in old Burgundy barrels for 11 months. Vital, a rare variety only grown in Western Portugal, is characterized by it's lower acid content and fleshy profile.This carries over to the Vital Blanco, with gorgeous notes of green apple, minerals, a slight creaminess, and fresh green herbs. A savory spice is in the palate, while the nose shows orchard fruit, white flowers and almond skin. The wine is medium body and on the richer style, similar to a lovely Rhone Valley white. This would pair well with dover sole, seafood stews, or chicken in a cream sauce. JDC
A delightful and idyllic orange wine from Tiago Teles and Antonio Marques-da Cruz. 100% Vital - a rare local grape from the Serra de Montejunto near Lisbon, with two weeks of maceration on the skins, and aging for about a year in old barrels. From my little experience with Vital, there is a LOT of character, but it's not overwhelmingly fragrant on the nose. Along with subtle overtones of stone fruit and salt, there are lovely aromas of crushed skins that are given a chance. Delicate tannins, and a finish that is a bit more refined and long, compared to the young and vivacious 2018 Vital white. We are still learning as we drink "orange" or skin-contact wines, and there are many to try. Some derived from aromatic varieties like Muscat and Gewurztraminer, can be wildly interesting but quite pronounced. Others, from long macerations, can be particularly astringent from high tannin levels. Here is a noteworthy contribution to the mix. Elegant, and food friendly. Well worth a try for fans of skin contact (or what we could just call good) wines. -EL
Bairrada, with its cooler maritime climate, has a long history of producing fresh and distinctive sparkling wines of quality from the native grapes of the region. Filipa Pato admirably keeps the tradition alive with her delicious and unpretentious brut rosé made from a blend of Bairrada’s signature noble red variety Baga and the tangy high acid white grape, Bical. Spicy and zesty with notes of bright citrus and red berries, this is a great (and affordable!) pairing for baked fish with paprika and Iberian olive oil or smoked fish brunch.
This is our favorite value red in the store. A medium-full bodied red, with nice blackberry fruit and smooth tannins. A blend of Aragones (Tempranillo) and Castelao, wild yeast fermentation, and farmed sustainably.
A delicious and curious white blend of Encruzado, Malvasia-Fina, Bical, Cerceal-Branco, Rabo-de-Ovelha, Fernão-Pires, Uva-Cão, Síria e outras... and probably a few other un-confirmed varieties. The idea for Sara and Dionisio, is to present a white that has all the character of the Dao: a field blend that can transport us to their home. It's textured, with almost a touch of almond skin, herbs and white flowers. Fermentation is in stainless steel after 1 day of skin contact. Aging on the lees for 8 months before bottling.Eben Lillie
Lúcia Freitas manages Quinta da Mariposa, located in Carregal do Sal in the Dao región of Portgal. The Dao is home to Portugal’s oldest varieties, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. Mariposa’s 2015 tinto is a blend of both of these varieties and a little bit of Jaen (or, Mencia). It shows notes of wild strawberry, bramble, some brown spice and fresh herbs. JDC
Antonio Marques da Cruz runs the Quinta do Serradinha winery, Portugal's first certified organic estate (Organic since 1994). The winery is located north of Lisbon and wines are quite traditional here, with stone lagars for crushing and big old barrels for aging. The Branco is a fascinating blend of Arinto and Fernão Pires, two local grapes. Aromas of anise and herbs, with some salinity and citrus on the palate. The Arinto delivers fresh acidity that frames the long finish. A dynamic white wine and with uniquely Portuguese character. -EL
This is not your bargain bin Vinho Verde, this is some serious Alvarinho! Vibrant and plenty aromatic while carrying a richer, fuller weight than many of the lean, slightly spritzy Vinho Verde's that are common. Notes of ripe, juicy peach and tangerine with a burst of fresh jasmine and a salty minerality.
We are delighted to have the first vintage of the Ramilo family’s Malvasia. From two hectares of rare and ungrafted vines in Colares, about one kilometer from the Atlantic. The soil here is comprised of clay, under about a meter of sand. The vines are trained low to the sand, permitting longer maturation of the fruit, while the light and heat reflected by the sand raises the fairly low temperature. After an October harvest period, 50% of the wine is fermented in stainless steel, while the other 50% is fermented on the skins in an open air lagar for seven days. This skin contact gives the Malvasia gorgeous notes of orange blossom, sea spray, plush flowers and salt. The palate continues these notes, along with the classic Colares profile of minerality, salinity, crisp acidity and tart citrus. This is one of our favorite wines, made for a dish like seafood stews, salt cod, and shrimp tempura. JDC