The Marques family and their estate, Vale do Capucha, represent the viticultural renaissance that the Lisboa DO has experienced over the last decade and a half. Having grown fruit for bulk wine production for 4 generations, they came to the realization 10 years ago that their heritage and terroir was something worth expressing. Now, they are at the tip of the spear for conversion to organic and biodynamic agriculture. While their adjacent neighbors routinely turn out yields in excess of 25 tons/hA, Vale do Capucha has trimmed theirs to under 6. Young winemaker Pedro Marques has taken the reins of the estate from his family, replanted it entirely with indigenous varieties, and has set about expressing a singular message of terroir. He is careful to say that he is first and foremost a viticulturist, and only secondarily a winemaker – he truly follows the ethos that “great wine is made in the vineyard.” Only 10 km from the Atlantic Ocean just outside of Lisbon, Vale do Capucha is a property whose wines speak to the presence and proximity of the ocean. The Capucha refers to the ancient Roman military road that led from Lisbon to Santarai, and both fossilized seashells and ancient Roman artifacts are consistently unearthed on the property, situated on a 400 million year-old thread of Kimmeridgian limestone. With minimal interventionist winemaking, Marques manages to clearly express the minerality and salinity of these ocean-inflected vineyards.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A blend of indigenous varietals, grown in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and imbued with maritime minerality and salinity. All spontaneous, natural yeast fermentation in stainless steel for a clean, pure expression of terroir.
RATING HISTORY: Not rated yet
GRAPE: 50% Fernao Pires, 35% Arinto, 15% Castas Regionais. Organically grown (certified) vines planted in 1996. Tended in Kimmeridgian limestone soil at 10 m (32.80 ft) elevation, less than 10 Km from the Atlantic Ocean.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This is a seafood wine extraordinaire – oysters, langoustines, conservas are all wonderful pairings.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Inoculated fermentation with native yeast strains in stainless steel, cold stabilization. Aged on the lees for 20 months in stainless steel. Unfiltered and unfined.
PRODUCTION: 2,083 cs
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Vineyards located 20 km outside of Lisbon, about 8km from the Atlantic Ocean. Situated at roughly sea level, with the highest elevation plantings at merely 100m elevation. Soil is Kimmeridgian limestone mixed with clay. Organic viticulture (certified 2015). Atlantic climate.
TASTING NOTES: Light straw-yellow. Aromas of lime zest, peach, white flowers and sea spray. On the palate, precise and mineral-driven, with gorgeous, mouth-filling texture, white peach and citrus fruit flavors, and a long, saline finish.