Winery to Watch 2016

Portugal: Monte Xisto

View from the vines at Monte Xisto

João Nicolau de Almeida began his career planting Ervamoira, a vineyard in the Douro Superior near Foz Coa, for Ramos Pinto. He recently retired as CEO to dedicate time to a project with his sons, Mateus and João. They began assembling their 100 acres on a ridge above the Douro in 1993, taking 15 years to complete 20 land deals; they started planting the vines, cascading down from either side of the ridge, in 2003. The vines grow in the midst of a riot of spring flowers, encouraged by the Nicolau de Almeidas, who farm the site with biodynamic practices. Mateus is building an underground schist-walled cave for the wine production; for the first vintages, he fermented the wine in granite lagars without any additions, then aged it in 600-liter barrels. The 2013 is floral and purple-fruited, the structure firm, the tannins adding an almost delicate schisty edge to the velvet nap of the texture. It captures a remarkable vineyard with vibrant energy.

Imported by MundoVino/The Winebow Group, NY.