Xisto Ilimitado Branco
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For nearly two decades, Luis Seabra has been at the center of a cultural shift in Portuguese winemaking, leading a movement of young, independent winemakers making history by reclaiming historical vineyards, grape varieties, and techniques. Seabra is dedicated to proving that fresh, elegant, terroir-driven still wines can be made in the Douro Valley. His fundamental understanding of soil coupled with his philosophy of minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery have launched him into the international eye as a leader of the New Portugal; according to Eric Asimov, he “is now making some of Portugal’s most compelling wines, both white and red.”
Luis Seabra works with old vineyards because he believes that mature vines are more resilient and well-equipped to handle the region’s intense weather; this makes them the best candidates to faithfully communicate special terroirs. When he started his solo project in 2013, he created the “Cru” series of wines, which revolve not around grape varieties, but vineyard sites. In Seabra’s own words: “we did this to show how we can put the place in the bottle.”
Xisto Ilimitado is a Portuguese analogue to the idea of a “village” level Burgundy. A field blend of 4 varieties planted across 3 subzones in the Douro, Ilimitado is a survey of the schist-driven terroir in the appellation. 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.
2017 94 The Wine Front; 2016 90+ IWR
60% Rabigato, 15% Gouveio, 15% Códega, 10% Viosinho. 30-45 year old vines, planted to mica schist at 500-600 m (1,640 -1,968 ft) elevation.
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 with one year of lees contact with no battonage.
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.
From Rabigato, Códega, Gouveio and Viosinho planted on mica schist 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.