Saroto Branco, 2019
Style/ Colour White
Grape Varieties An old-vine field blend containing the likes of Verdelho, Malvasia, Posto Branco, and Bastardo Branco, amongst others.
The producer The wines made by Frederico Machado and Ricardo Alves, the young guns behind Arribas Wine Company, have given me every reason to remedy that omission. Ironically, Machado – a globetrotter – had himself been unaware of the old vineyards around his grandparents’ village of Bemposta until he stumbled across them in 2017, following a party! The micro-negociants are now avidly exploring different soils, altitudes, aspects and grapes, which they showcase through minimal intervention winemaking. With the motto ‘keep doing better by doing,’ they made nine wines in 2019, including a wine for Niepoort’s funky Nat Cool label.
The vineyard/winemaking Hand-harvested grapes were foot trodden in a traditional lagar. After four days of skin maceration, the grapes were pressed and the juice racked into used French oak barrels (one new), where it naturally fermented on lees without temperature control, additionally undergoing full malolactic fermentation. After seven months, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal addition of sulphites. 3,000 bottles produced.
Tasting note Sourced from 70-90-year-old vines at 650-700m altitude on decomposed granite, quartz and clay. The field blend includes Verdelho, Malvasia and - new to me - Posto Branco and Bastardo Branco. Vine age and terroir conspire to produce an intense white, with pronounced, stony minerality and an attractive bitter (quinine) edge, thanks to skin contact – very much part of the (light tannic) structure of this green/gold-coloured white wine. It is wiry, rather than fleshy, spare, but with vigour, the oak readily absorbed.
Food Pairing Smoked meats or 'pataniscas' salt cod fritters.
Serving recommendations Serve chilled 10-12°C. Drink 2020-2023
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