There were murmurings through the grapevine in Vinho Verde, Portugal. While there is not a plenitude of non-interventionist winemakers in this region, there are still more than a few. For Savio Soares – the importer of this wine – Fernando Paiva proved to be one such admirable and priceless producer and contact. Fernando became in recent years so well-known through this region – the first Portuguese winemaker to be fully biodynamic certified by Demeter – that he was able to point Savio in the direction of other likeminded projects. Soon, he was on the banks of the Tâmega river shaking hands with Antonio Sousa, where biodynamic viticulture (i.e. in the vines) pairs in the cellar with more traditional winemaking. As pristine examples as we’ve seen of the potential of local Vinho Verde grapes vinified in surprising (for example, prior to fermentation, 1 kilo of ground chestnut leaves per each ton of grapes is added as stabilizer) and always exciting ways – what rich new potential has been wrought.
Vinification: A blend of 25% Vinhão, 15% Bastardo, 20% Borraçal, 25% Arinto, and 15% Loureiro hand-harvested from vines grown in primarily granitic soils. The grapes are vinified separately: Vinhão undergoes five-day whole-cluster maceration, Borraçal is destemmed and macerates for ten days before pressing, Bastardo is also destemmed and macerates for 3 weeks before pressing, the Arinto is directly pressed and ages for several months on the fine lees while the Loureiro is also directly-pressed and aged on the fine lees for several months. Spontaneous fermentation.
Tasting: This is a light, chillable red with a bit of an earthy edge. Dark, translucent, ruby red in the glass. A summery berry fruit is present, but it takes the back-burner to a strong, smoky minerality: iron-like, grassy, rocky and sleek. Drink this just below room temp and perhaps over several hours, as this will constantly evolve in the bottle.