Vale da Capucha Branco
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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 bio dynamic 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 dominated by indigenous variety Fernao Pires, a grape that is possessed of terrific structure and aromatics. This provides a clear window into the minerality inherent in this maritime terroir. Intensity and purity of fruit and mineral character are the hallmarks of Capucha Branco.
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80% Fernao Pires, 20% Arinto. Organically grown (certified) vines planted in 1996. Tended in Kimmeridgian limestone soil at 10 m (32.80 ft) elevation less than 10 Kmfrom the Atlantic Ocean
Pair with grilled whole fish with herb vinaigrette, roasted oysters and salt and pepper shrimp.
Vinification and ageing
Inoculated fermentation with native yeast strains in stainless steel, cold stabilization. Aged on the lees for 8 months in stainless steel. Unfiltered and unfined.
Location, Soil, Climate
Vineyards located 20km 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.
Day-bright yellow. Exotic tropical and stone fruit, mixed with spice tones, anise, paperwhites and dusty mineral. Unmistakeable sea spray aromas. On the palate, fleshy stone fruit gives way to an intensely mineral backbone with chalk and sea salt providing balance and length.