2021 Luis Seabra "Xisto Cru" Branco, Douro, Portugal
Rather than single vineyard, this wine is made from a single soil field blend, from plots planted in the southern Douro from 1920-1933. It is intended as a clear expression of terroir and place. Sustainably farmed vines, and vinified using only spontaneous fermentation and indigenous yeasts. This way he removes all potential variability other than the soil type as an expression of terroir. This mineral wine begs for dishes like oysters, clams, mussels and would also make a terrific pairing with bright cheese like chevre.
Vineyards located in southern part of Douro Superior, in eastern Douro near the Spanish border. 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 terrific hang-time. Vines planted exclusively in mica schist soil at 650-700m elevation.
After a decade as winemaker at Niepoort, where he was responsible for some of the best known and highly rated wines to come out of the famed Douro and Porto producer, Luis Seabra decided that he no longer wanted to make wines to someone else’s tastes and specifications. Thus, he began his eponymous winery, and set about shattering preconceptions of what Douro wines represent. The Xisto Cru Branco is one of a series of wines that Luis makes that exemplify and express the intensely terroir-driven style in which he operates. He is a particularly gifted winemaker, one who sees wine as a medium through which a piece of land can speak. “Cru” translates as “raw” in Portuguese, and the transmission of terroir here is unadulterated and singular. This series of wines is one in which he removes every variable but that of the land itself, and the stark expression of the soil that results is extraordinary. He works exclusively with spontaneous fermentation, native yeasts, and large format tight-grained oak for all the wines in this series.