Luis Seabra, Douro Indie Xisto, 2018

Red Wine from Porto & Douro, Portugal
$54.99
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70+ year old vines on blue schist soils over 500m above sea level. It's a field blend of mostly Tinto Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Nacional, with Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Brasileira, Rufete, Donzelinho Tinto, Malvasia Preta and others. The two vineyards were whole-bunch fermented separately. Indie is meant to be an exploration of the terroir of the Douro Valley. The vines are grown using sustainable methods, and only indigenous yeasts are used, in order to fully highlight the unique sense of place. Aged 22 months in French oak barrels.

Luis Seabra loves, loves, loves, loves, wine. It’s a passion, bordering on obsession, but one that has turned him into Portugal’s greatest innovator and winemaker. His wines defy expectations, tasting nothing like the rich, extracted wines of his Douro neighbors, and yet clearly expressions of that place. You stop to wonder what everyone else might be doing wrong.

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with what his neighbors have been doing. But he’s doing something no one else has tried. The Douro is Europe's oldest demarcated wine region and has been world famous for their Port wines virtually that whole time. But Port wine, perfected over decades and centuries, isn’t like dry wines. For instance, unlike the other ancient and famous regions (Tokaj, Burgundy, Mosel, Piedmont, etc.) no one has ever made a single soil map of the place.

So when the market for sweet Port wines started to dry up, and the locals started to make dry wines they didn’t have the frames of reference most dry wine makers have. So they made dry versions of Port. These are wines that have a place. They can be delicious. But they are not transparent to the soil in the way that most great dry wines are.

Luis Seabra has changed that. After 10 years of working under Dirk Nierpoort, an innovator in his own right, Luis wanted to have full control over his vision. He struck out on his own, utilized his connections with small growers and got to work.

He’s identified soil types in every parcel of every vineyard he works with. Colloquially the region is dominated by schist, but in actuality it's not schist but a menagerie of different slates with granite thrown in for good measure. Any German Riesling drinker will tell you the differences in slate soils can be stark, the same is true here. Even with tens of different grape varieties often planted to a single vineyard, when farmed and vinified for quality dry wine the variations are startling.

All of his wines share a vivaciousness, they are lithe, crisp and energetic. But each cuveé is singular in its expression and offers the adventurous wine drinker an opportunity to explore a side of this region previously unknown.

Details

  • Country

    Portugal

  • Region

    Porto & Douro

  • Grape Variety

    Other Regional Grapes , Red Blend , Tempranillo , Touriga Nacional

  • Vintage

    2018

  • Size

    750ml

  • Farming Practice

    Sustainable

  • Style

    Herbaceous , Juicy , Minerally

  • Sweetness

    Dry

  • Body

    Medium Bodied

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