This is the entry-level orange cuvée (100% Moscatel Galego) from the young and ambitious winemaker Tiago Sampaio. Tiago has truly had a life of the vine. What began as a childhood fascination from atop the shoulders of his grandfather, walking the many yards of vines and vegetables of his family’s farm, has become a career, an identity, a life that is now shared with people all over the world who enjoy the fruits of his efforts. A long academic career in agriculture, viticulture, and oenology in Portugal eventually landed him at Oregon State’s esteemed Viticulture and Oenology PhD. Once completed, Tiago returned to northern Portugal to start what has become one of the most exciting natural wine projects in all of Iberia. Working in the rough terrain of Alijó in a region known as the Alto Douro, the (mainly old, i.e. 80+ years, and native) vines are trained atop schist and granite soils at 1600-2300ft elevation.
Tasting Notes: With the hue of a fuzzy peach in the glass, Curtido (rough translation: tawny, or 'tanned') is an all-around stunner, with the bright and vibrant nose typical of Iberian amber wine, full of garrigue, tropical fruit, and citric verve; the body is supple and rich (a sign of the extended lees aging); the finish carries gentle, pillowy astringency, not the kind of lip-stinging, gum-gripping tannins typical of some more robust orange renditions.
Vinification: 100% Moscatel Galego from 35+ year-old vines grown in a well-integrated soil blend of granite and schist. The grapes are hand-harvested in September and are partially destemmed after a "vigorous vineyard sorting." A four-month extended maceration takes place before pressing. Spontaneous fermentation with only the help of native yeasts inside of 5000L temperature-controlled cement tanks takes place over the course of ~3weeks. Maturing with no intervention atop its own lees for two months, the wine is then transferred and aged in cement tank for six additional months. Unfined, unfiltered, with minimal additional SO2.