CASA DE MOURAZ (Dão, Portugal)
In this old land of steep slopes and small valleys, located between the mountain ranges of Estrela and Caramulo, the Cister monks built the monastery of S.Pedro de Mouraz (12th century), giving rise to the farming of vineyards and wine in this region. Little has changed to the land but the original farming practices, since lost by industrialization, have now been brought back by Antonio Lopes Ribiero and his wife Sara Dionisio. They inherited the vines through several generations but converted it to the first certified organic vineyard of the Dão in 2000 (and since biodynamic as well). The need, to see this family home remain healthy for the next generations, moved them home from careers in the London Art World. With the intent to use local varieties to the best of their terrior expression, the couple concentrates their creative efforts in respect to the cycles of nature. They farm 13ha of various grapes (5 red and 4 white) is divided into 10 parcels due to differences in soil (granite to clay), altitude (140 to 400m) and surroundings (chestnut, oak and pine trees). New plantings vie with nearly 50yr old vines. The cellar uses the best of modern technology yet with traditional methods applied first, in the stone house cut from the very rock beneath them. Gentle pressings, natural yeast starters, long lees contact in the wine and minimal handling otherwise, are the time honored practices. Stainless steel with temperature control and pneumatic presses enhance the prospects. The results are clear: pure expressions of the older grape vines, with distinct transparency to the terrior they have grown up in (documents show the parcels have been the same since the 16th century!) but fresh and pleasurable enough to be drunk young and often. Antonio and Sara are a dynamic team, active in promoting the spread of their philosophies to neighboring vignerons. The more they press, the better their wine, and the wines of Portugal at large, will be! We think the monks would be happy too.
100% Encruzado Handpicked and pressed cool. In steel vat, natural yeasts run the course of fermentation. The must remains on the lees for extended time to develop texture. Bottled in mid-spring.