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Country of Origin: Portugal
Location: Serra da Estrela, Dão
People: António Madeira, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
António Madeira is on a mission, and making killer wines is just a part of it. He’s deeply dedicated to the Dão—his adopted homeland in north-central Portugal—and has set out to identify and classify its “grand cru” vineyards and preserve its most ancient ones. In the meantime, he’s crafting phenomenal, terroir-focused wines and showing the potential of this oft-overlooked region.
Madeira is a Parisian of Portuguese descent with family roots in the Serra da Estrela, mainland Portugal’s highest mountain. In 2011 he produced his first wines after discovering a 50-year-old vineyard in the foothills. He quickly realized he’d stumbled upon gold in the Dão: old vines of native varietals such as Tinta Pinheira, Negro Mouro, Tinta Amarela, and Baga; free-draining granite soils; and excellent sun exposures—all combine to make magical wines. Today, he works with small plots in six different villages and farms organically and manually. All of his wines are co-fermented field blends, using indigenous yeast and very little sulphur. If there’s a throughline in his wines it’d be a touch of salinity and ample freshness, with an earthy quality like the first moments after it rains.
This whole vinous labor of love was, until recently, made in the garage at his parents’ vacation home in the Serra da Estrela. But his wines have been so well received that he’s been able to construct a new winery and to trade in his day job as an engineer in Paris to make wine full-time in the Dão, bringing his wife and two daughters with him. With a keen eye on micro-parcels and historic preservation, he’s one of the most exciting producers today in the region.
The Wine Detective: Dão: a Visit with António Madeira, Serra d’Estrela
Wineanorak.com: António Madeira: a new star from Dão, Portugal
António Madeira on Facebook