2016 Vale da Capucha ‘Fossil’
Region: Lisboa < Portugal
Grapes: Arinto, Gouveio, Fernão Pires
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming with some biodynamic practices, Kimmeridgian soils, de-stemmed, fermented in stainless steel and aged on lees for 20 months
Winemaker: Pedro Marques
“Portugese Chablis” is how we’d describe this unique Portuguese wine, made of native grape varieties grown on rocky Kimmeridgian soil – best-known for giving Chablis wines that famous chalky minerality. This area, a sea bed over 150 million years ago, is made up of deposits of tons of calcified seashells, infusing the soil with a huge limestone component. Imprints and fossils are still uprooted in the vineyard to this day, hence the name of the wine. Young winemaker Pedro Marques was certified organic in 2012 and is establishing a tradition of quality and purposeful winemaking in this region formerly known strictly for quantity. Because of the excellent terroir, he can add texture and body with time on the lees and in bottle before release. It’s all salty, chalky goodness with intense minerality and a creaminess that screams for tinned sardines, baked oysters or saffron-inflected risotto.