The Portuguese archipelago of the Azores is home to a winemaking tradition that dates back to its colonization in the 15th century, wherein viticulture was introduced by Franciscan friars. This group of islands is home to a singular terroir and micro-climate, one that draws close comparison to the island of Santorini, Greece. Like Santorini, the Azores are volcanic islands comprised entirely of black basalt. Pico, the main wine-producing island where these vineyards are located, has such poor soil that the vineyard needs to be supplemented with soil from neighboring islands to support vine growth, and even with that, the yields are a fraction of what they are in the rest of the DOC. Additionally, the vineyards are grown in tiny plots (2-6 bush trained vines per square) protected on all sides by small walls called “currais” to ward off the strong winds that blow in from the nearby beaches. This terroir and the blend of varietals imbue the wines with incredible minerality and purity, as well as unmistakable salinity.
António Maçanita, whose heritage is directly tied to the Azores, has been a force of rejuvenation and rediscovery in these islands. Thanks to his efforts, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is being re-established as a prestige wine-growing region in Europe. With the Vulcânico line of wines, António seeks to emphasize the soil and terroir of the Azores over the varietals themselves. The Branco (white), Tinto (red) and Rosé are all blends of indigenous varieties, made with minimal intervention to fully evoke the salt, wind and volcanic character of this wind-swept landscape.
Origin: Azores Islands, Portugal
Varietals: A field blend of Aragones (Tempranillo), Agronomica, Castelao, Malvarsico, Merlot, Touriga Nacional, Saborinho and Syrah
Sustainability: sustainable practices
Suggested retail price: $35.00
The grapes are cold macerated for 15 days before being fermented. The wine is aged eight months in stainless steel and then 10 months in bottle prior to release.
The wine displays an intense ruby color with a purple haze. Aromas of fresh red fruit commingle with salty savory notes. The palate reveals cranberry, sour cherry, good minerality and interesting salinity. The wine finishes with spiciness and a sanguine umami note.
Suggested food pairings: charcuterie, carpaccio, grilled vegetables, seared tuna with olives and capers, roasted chicken, grilled sausages, pasta with meat sauce, cheeses.