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 microclimate, one that draws close comparison to the island of Santorini. 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. Rosé Vulcanico is the ultimate maritime wine, and imbued with the unmistakable volcanic terroir of Pico-salty and fresh, with beautiful precision and acidity.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This is a micro-production wine from the tiny island of Pico in the Azores. It is grown in volcanic basalt at sea level, less than 50m from the Atlantic. This terroir and the varietal imbue this wine with incredible minerality and purity, as well as unmistakable salinity. Perhaps the most maritime rosé in existence.
RATING HISTORY: 2017 93W&S,
GRAPE: 25% Saborinho, 25% Agronomica, 25% Aragones, 25% Touriga Nacional. Sustainably grown tiny plots (2 to 6 bush trained vines per square) planted in 1991 in volcanic soil at sea level.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This is a wine that performs beautifully with all sorts of seafood, owing to its salinity and minerality. Shellfish and freshly prepared fish dishes are brilliant pairs, particularly those with some heat.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Hand harvested to 40kg baskets, heavy triage, then racked to small stainless steel tanks until December. No maceration, free run and direct press. Conventional fermentation with cultivated yeasts.
PRODUCTION: 533 cs (12 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Pico, in the Azores, is about 1000 miles off the coast of Portugal. It is dominated by the volcano Ponto do Pico, Portugals highest mountain. The soil is entirely black volcanic basalt, which puts enormous stress on the vines, lowering yields. Vines are the only crop to speak of on Pico, as other plant life has a difficult time surviving. Temperature averages 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (22-24 C), with rainfall averaging 47 inches (1200mm) a year.
TASTING NOTES: Pale salmon pink, with edges running to orange. Aromas of wild strawberry, sea spray, blood orange and sour cherry comingle with iodine, black pepper and oyster shell. On the palate, clean, fresh flavors of strawberry and watermelon are carried by high toned minerality and persistent salinity. Thirst quenching and stunningly easy to drink.