Azores Wine Company 2017 Verdelho o Original, Azores IGP
Item Number: 12942
Sub Region: Azores
Appellation/AVA: Azores IGP
Estate Grown Wine: No
Grape(s): 100% Verdelho do Pico
Type: Wine - White
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alc by Vol(%): 12.5
Soil Type: Black basalt
Elevation: 164 ft
Case Production: 117 cases
Grape Notes: The Verdelho found in the Azores, identical to the varietal on Madeira, is a different species than the grape often called Verdelho in the Douro, which is actually the Portuguese name for Godello. The “Original” is meant to reference the confusion between these two grapes.
Terroir Notes: The Portuguese archipelago of the Azores is home to a winemaking tradition that dates back to its colonization in the 15th century, wherein viticulture was introduced by Franciscan friars. This group of islands is home to a singular terroir and microclimate, one that draws close comparison to the island of Santorini. Like Santorini, the Azores are volcanic islands comprised entirely of black basalt, which puts enormous stress on the vines, lowering yields.
Pico, in the Azores, is about 1,000 miles off the coast of Portugal. It is dominated by the volcano Ponto do Pico, Portgual’s highest mountain. The soil is entirely black basalt, which puts enormous stress on the vines, lowering yields. Vines are the only crop to speak of on Pico, as other plant life has a difficult time surviving. Temperature averages 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, with rainfall averaging 1200mm a year.
Winemaking Notes: Dynamic winemaker Antonio Mançanita is based in the Alentejo, but wanted to explore this unique terroir because of his family’s history in this area – his father is from the Azores, and he wanted to pay tribute to this heritage. Grapes were manually harvested then racked to small stainless steel tanks for 6 months with extensive battonage. These tanks were laid down in the fashion of a barrel in order to facilitate battonage during lees aging.
Tasting Notes: Bright straw-yellow. Aromas of passionfruit, pineapple, sea spray and oyster shell on the nose. On the palate, vibrant and fresh with high toned tropical fruit held in balance by impressive mid-palate weight and breadth. Finishes long and clean, with the Azores' tell-tale minerality running through the finish.
91pts (2018 Vintage) Wine Advocate 12/30/2019
"The winery emphasizes that the Verdelho in the 2018 Verdelho Original is "not to be confused with Gouveio of the mainland or Verdejo of Spain. [It is a] unique grape to the islands of Portugal, Madeira and Azores. It has never been found in mainland Portugal." I repeat that every year, but it's worth doing again. If you're interested in geeky detail, see his study here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajgw.12353. An unoaked blend from three islands in the Azores, it comes in with 12.5% alcohol. This has its acidity beautifully integrated. It shows some expressiveness even at this young age and a lovely finish. It's big, relative to the style, and bright. It evolved nicely in the glass as well. This is a fine example of the brand. Whether it is a little better or a little behind the last couple of vintages is immaterial—it is pretty close. We'll see as they acquire some age."