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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 old 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.
With the Mono C, he is taking a look at a particular variety – in this case, Castelão. While Castelão is a grape that is typically found further south in Portugal, Luis has found a mono-planted plot of the light-skinned grape in the Douro and is working his magic to craft a wine of unparalleled delicacy and elegance.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
‘Mono C’ is a unique exploration of one of Southern Portugal’s most commonly planted red varieties, Castelāo. It is rarely planted in Douro, although authorized. With a softer tannin profile than many of the Douro’s native red grapes, this is a wine that’s more open and less tight than the local wines—and under Seabra’s watchful eye, less soft and alcoholic than the varietal typically is shown.
2019 92+ WA; 2017 92 WS, 90 WA
100% Castelão, planted to yellow schist at 450m elevation in 1993.
Charcuterie, grilled pork dishes, roasted poultry.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Whole-cluster fermented in stainless steel vats using only indigenous yeast. One-month cold maceration. Elevage in 500L used barrel on the lees for 18 months before bottling.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
Vineyards located in Baixa 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 hangtime. Vines planted exclusively in to yellow schist soil at 475m elevation. 600mm annual rainfall.
Bright violet. On the nose, snappy aromas of red and blue fruit, overlaid with a distinct schist mineral note. On the palate, bright and punchy, with sour cherry, plum, tart blueberry tightly wrapped in floral and mineral tones. Mouthwatering acidity and soft skin tannin provide lovely balance to the fruit. Drink with a slight chill.