DOC Encostas D’Aire – Medieval de Ourém, Lisboa, Portugal
Fernao Pires (80%), Trincadeira (20%)
“When Portugal entered the European community in 1986, this wine became illegal because it is forbidden to mixture 80% white grapes with 20% red ones. From one day to another, a winemaking process with more than 800 years was condemned to disappear! An association was created in the beginning of the 90’s to save this heritage and only in 2005, after many years of fighting against politicians, we got legislation that allow us to produce this wine. In the beginning of this “fight” we were more than 3000 small producers. Today there’s are around 10 that produce the Medieval wine according to all the established rules.”
Vineyard: Chalky clay.
Farming: Certified organic.
Vinification: The white grapes (Fernao Pires) were pressed into wood barrels but filled only 80%. It began fermentation and at the same time, Trincadeira (red grapes) were destemmed and placed in wood vats called “dornas.” After a four to ten day fermentation, the fermenting red fruit was added to the fermenting white juice and both finished fermentation together, in the wood barrels. The cap from the skins and pits sank to the bottom, naturally filtering the wine.
Tasting Note: This wine’s flavor is as unique as its method. Slightly toasty with rose petals, white pepper, nutmeg, and cola, it has alluring aromatics with spiced red fruit, superb length and a fair bit of tannin.
Food Pairing: The first thing that comes to mind is Serra de Estrela, a soft, buttery, pungent sheep’s milk cheese from a region of the same name. Get some dried fruit and roasted nuts and you’re all set.
Drinkability: Now – 2024, maybe longer.
SO2: Under 50 ppm.