Xisto Ilimitado Branco
Xisto Ilimitado, by famed Douro winemaker Luis Seabra, is a Portuguese analogue to the idea of a “village” level Burgundy. A field blend of 6 varieties planted across 3 subzones in the Douro, Ilimitado is a survey of the schist-driven terroir in the appellation. The Douro is the oldest demarcated appellation in Western Europe, chartered in 1756. Since 1986, the focus has diversified from the early days of fortified wine production in Porto, giving rise to a number of fine table wines that spearheaded the Portuguese wine market in America in the early 2000s. Luis Seabra, former winemaker at Nieeport, has focused his winemaking on the distinct soil types in the valley, and this latest project shows the breadth of style that is achievable in the region. Bright, focused and fresh, Xisto Ilimitado is a great introduction to the new Douro.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A wine that offers an introduction to the dominant soil type in the Douro valley. Minimal interventionist wine-making. Fresh, mineral driven white that showcases the beautiful schist soil of the Douro.
RATING HISTORY: 2016 90+ IWR
GRAPE: 50% Rabigato, 20% Codega, 15% Gouveio (Godello), 10% Viosinho. 30-45 year old vines, planted to mica schist at 500-600 m (1,640 -1,968 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Xisto Ilimitado Branco pairs beautifully with roast poultry, white fish and seafood, and especially spicier preparations.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 90% fermented in used barrel; 10% fermented in stainless steel. All indigenous wild yeast fermentation. Aged in 90% used barrel and 10% stainless steel. 1 year of lees contact with no battonage.
PRODUCTION: 750 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Vineyards located in Cima Corgo. This is a subregion that experiences extreme highs and lows from a temperature standpoint, with some of the greatest day-night temperature delta in Portugal. As such the fruit experiences extended hang-time. Vines planted exclusively in to mica schist soil at 500-600m elevation. 400mm annual rainfall.
TASTING NOTES: From rabigato, codega, godello and viosinho planted on micaschist and fermented mostly in old barrels, it has the lemon-mineral punch of great Burgundy, plus a ripe pear fruitiness, white poppy and remarkable density. This is sleek, contemporary white winemaking of the highest order. -- Jon Bonné | Bright straw yellow. On the nose, stone and orchard fruit abound, with flinty wet stone and white pepper laid over the dominant aromatics. On the palate, impressively bright and mineral driven, with a great balance between power and lift. Lemon, green apple, bosc pear flavors comingle with a touch of floral tone and slate minerals. Juicy and mineral-driven all at once.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold