From: Azores, Portugal
Varietal: Arinto dos Açores
Taste: This gorgeous and rare white wine presents aromas that captivate a symphony of salinity and minerality, with pronounced aromas of sea spray, crushed wet stones, and a delicate floral note of white blossoms. On the palate, the wine is energetic and invigorating, showcasing bright acidity and flavors of grapefruit, underripe stone fruits, such as white peach and nectarine, and a subtle green apple tartness. The mid-palate introduces a layer of complexity, as hints of wet slate, flint, and a touch of white pepper make an appearance. The finish is crisp and lengthy, with the zesty citrus and mineral flavors lingering on the tongue, leaving a refreshing and mouthwatering sensation.
Pairing: This wine's lively acidity, salinity, and minerality make it an ideal partner for a wide range of dishes, particularly those with bright, zesty, and savory flavors. Seafood dishes naturally pair well with this wine, as the wine's characteristics complement and enhance the briny flavors of the ocean. We’re sharing an equally versatile shrimp recipe below for Cumin-Lime Shrimp with Ginger.
For a regional pairing, consider Azorean dishes that showcase the local cuisine's affinity for seafood. Opt for a plate of "Lapas Grelhadas" (grilled limpets) or "Polvo Guisado" (octopus stew), both of which will harmonize beautifully with the wine's bright acidity and saline notes. Alternatively, try a classic Portuguese "Caldeirada de Peixe" (fish stew), where the wine's crispness will cut through the richness of the tomato-based broth.
For a vegetarian pairing, focus on dishes with ingredients that share the wine's zesty and savory qualities. A Mediterranean-inspired salad with artichokes, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, drizzled with a citrusy vinaigrette, will create a delightful harmony with the wine's bright acidity and minerality. A dish of "Espargos Grelhados" (grilled asparagus) with lemon and garlic, or a "Tabbouleh" salad with plenty of fresh herbs, will also be well-matched to the wine's vibrant character.
Cumin-Lime Shrimp With Ginger
By Colu Henry
2019 92+ WA, 92 WE; 2018 92 WA; 2017 92 Forbes; 2016 92WA
A Journey of Passion and Perseverance
From the volcanic island of Pico, part of Portugal's remote Azores archipelago, the Azores Wine Company has triumphed in the face of adversity, producing a one-of-a-kind expression of the Arinto dos Açores grape in the 2019 Azores Wine Co. Arinto dos Açores DO Pico - Açores. The winemakers' determination and passion for their craft have culminated in a wine that is captivating, unique, and reflects the island's singular terroir.
A Tale of Origins and Inspiration
The story of this exceptional wine begins with António, who co-founded Fitapreta Vinhos in sunny Alentejo before embarking on the adventure of the Azores Wine Company. His connection to the Azores runs deep, as his father's homeland, and his many childhood trips to the islands, inspired him to take on the challenge of reviving the indigenous Terrantez do Pico varietal with his two partners.
The Unique Terroir of Pico Island:
The island of Pico, located in the Azores, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its unique volcanic terroir. Vineyards here are situated at sea level, surrounded by centuries-old volcanic stone walls called "currais" that protect them from the salty Atlantic winds. The vines are grown in the black basalt rock cracks, resulting in incredibly low yields and exceptional flavors.
The Grape: Arinto dos Açores
The 2019 Azores Wine Co. Arinto dos Açores DO Pico - Açores is made from 100% Arinto dos Açores grapes, a varietal distinct from the mainland's Arinto. This grape has evolved over time to adapt to the extreme growing conditions of Pico Island. The sustainably grown vines, planted between 1984 and 2004, contribute to the wine's unique character. Grown on volcanic basalt at sea level, the vines are planted just 100 feet from the Atlantic Ocean, making the wine's salinity and minerality truly remarkable.
Perfectly Paired with Seafood
As an ideal companion to seafood dishes, this wine's unique characteristics shine when paired with grilled whole fish, oysters, mussels, and shrimp. Its bright acidity and refreshing minerality complement the flavors of the ocean and enhance the dining experience.
Vinification and Aging:
The grapes are hand-harvested and go through a rigorous selection process before being whole bunch pressed. The juice is decanted for 24 hours and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine ages for 10 months on the lees in horizontal tanks, allowing for increased surface area contact. The wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation, resulting in a refined and complex flavor profile.
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