Hugo de Oliveira e Silva – winemaker for Pinalta

Hugo’s background in wine stretches back a couple of generations; his grandfather was a winemaker for Borges, a long -established Portuguese wine company and his father was involved in the wine trade all his life. Throughout his formative years, Hugo was surrounded by the world of wine and soon developed an insatiable curiosity to learn more about the mysteries of wine making that he had witnessed first-hand at his grandfather’s work.

Keen to learn more about the science of wine making Hugo embarked on his studies. After first studying chemistry, then oenology and now finalising his PhD in viticulture, Hugo researched and developed his interest in wine chemistry. Hugo then gained valuable experience in Argentina and South Africa and in different Portuguese wine regions. Hugo understands that each vine, vineyard and grape variety is unique and should be valued as such. His personal aim as a winemaker is to produce wines that express place, the vines and the people that work there.

To achieve this goal Hugo says it is necessary to understand how to achieve full ripeness and perfect balanced fruit from each vine and to know the gifts and consequences of each technique used to produce a wine. He calls this ‘expression winemaking’ and it requires a search for knowledge and deep respect for Nature.

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Rita Araujo – Vinho Verde, Adega Ponte de Lima wines

Rita Araujo is one of the dynamic wine making team at the Adega Ponte de Lima headed up by Fernando Moura the head winemaker. This well-run adega is a large cooperative (and the largest winery in vinho verde region) forming the heart of the charming historic town of Ponte de Lima in north west Portugal.

Like many young Portuguese wine makers Rita has a degree in Enology from the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro in Vila Real in northern Portugal. After gaining international experience at La Crema Winery in California and Azienda Agricola Spadafora in Palermo Italy, Rita then returned to Portugal and with her grandparents’ connections at the Adega de Ponte de Lima she began working there in 2013. There are 2000 small holders or associates who supply the adega with grapes. This presents a huge challenge to the winemaking team to ensure the consistency, authenticity and character of genuine Vinho Verde year after year.

The favoured white grape is Loureiro a variety that Rita considers has adapted particularly well to the “terroir” of the Lima Valley and is highly prized for its aroma citrus and apples. For the red wines, the Vinhão variety is highly prized because of its amazing red fruit and berry aromas. Completing their range Adega de Ponte de Lima also produce sparkling wines from the Loureiro variety and old brandies. Nowadays this modern cooperative exports all over Europe as well as Angola, Japan, Brasil, USA and Canada.

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Francisco Montenegro – Douro, Aneto wines

Francisco Montenegro is part of a new generation of young dynamic winemakers sweeping through the Douro region. Born and brought up in the Douro valley, Francisco grew up helping his grandfather work in the vineyards which lead to his realising at a young age that wine making was a passion and his choice of future career.

In 2001 Francisco set up Aneto Wines to make small quantities of high quality Douro wines. The family run business manages the entire wine making process from tending the vineyards during the growing season to harvesting, vinifying and bottling, ensuring the very best quality and standards are achieved.

Like many of his generation Francisco’s goal and method is to create the very best wine with minimum intervention and making the best use of the technology that is now available. His philosophy is that it is important to pay attention to even the smallest details throughout the wine making process and nothing can be rushed if you want to achieve the perfect wine.

Set in the heart of the Douro region Aneto Wines has 17 acres of mature vineyards separated by different grape varieties. In 2014 Joao Paulo martins scored the Aneto wines he tasted equal or higher than 16 on a scale of 20.

An outstanding wine maker producing some of Portugal’s very best wines.

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Carlos Ruivo – Dao, Casa de Darei wines

A relatively young enterprise the first vines were planted in 1997 at Casa de Darei by Carlos’ father and brothers with the help of friends and neighbours. Over the following years Carlos saw at first hand the growth of the vineyards and their wines and soon after decided to leave his job in marketing and devote himself to the family business. Initially he worked on the commercial side but with time he became more involved with the winemaking under the careful tutelage of his father and the recent wine profiles show more of Carlos’ input.

Casa de Darei’s philosophy to wine making has been to limit the oak in order for the natural fruit flavours to express themselves and although not certified organic, protection of the natural environment is a priority and this applies not only to the vineyards but to the orchards, olive groves and cattle herds on the estate.
Their natural approach to wine production allows Casa de Darei to enhance the terroir to get the maximum elegance and purity in the final product. Even with relatively young vines complexity is achieved with the combination of the granitic soils, high altitude and thermal amplitude (for natural acidity) and the grapes. All the grapes are Portuguese from the Dão region, birthplace of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfocheiro and Jaen for the red wines and Encruzado, Malvasia fina, Cerceal, Bical and Verdelho for the white wines.

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