This bewitching, saline wine springs from the black volcanic basalt of the Azores, the Portuguese island chain smack the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a blend of equal parts native Portuguese grapes Saborinho, Agronómica, Aragonez, and Touriga Nacional grown on a steep pitch of hillside about 100 meters from the shoreline. The vines are planted in currais, low, stacked stone walls meant to shield them from the ocean’s fury. The grapes are hand harvested into small baskets, whole-cluster pressed, and fermented in stainless steel tanks that are laid on their sides for additional lees contact, which builds savoriness and texture.
As expected from a wine washed by stiff Atlantic winds, it has breezy, briny freshness, but the terroir has also imparted a sense of the black, the smoky, the mineral. The fruit reads like dried peaches with an added shot of juicy stone fruits and strawberries, plus something like bitter orange and ginger. It’s a textural wine, coating and weighty despite its elegantly low alcohol, and that saltiness keeps me returning for another sip.
Dimensional, interesting, and remarkable; I want this with shrimp, lobster, prawns, or any cold-water shellfish.
2019 Azores Wine Company Rosé Vulcanico Azores
11.5% abv | $28; imported by Olé & Obrigado