Portugal's answer to village-level Burgundy (read: elegant, complex, yet approachable).
Producer: Luis Seabra
Region: Douro, Portugal
Grapes: Field blend (30% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Amarela, 20% Tinta Roriz, 10% Rufete, 10% Tinta Barroca, 5% Malvasia Preta, 5% Donzelinho Tinto)
Lighter Body, Vibrant
Flavors: Red currant, pomegranate, fresh herbs.
Pairings: Chicken, duck, roast pork loin.
Cooney points out that the Xisto Ilimitado is Seabra’s answer to a “village-level Burgundy,” a reference that conjures an expression that’s as approachable as it is elegant. Tart red currant and pomegranate notes are abundant on the nose as well as the palate, bolstered by herbal, earthy complexity, fresh acidity, and fine tannin. Cooney suggests a pairing of roast chicken on a cool autumn night.
“I think Portuguese wines are so beautiful,” Cooney said. “The value is unbelievable.” This red field blend, or blend of multiple co-planted red grapes, is produced by Luis Seabra, a heavyweight on the Portuguese wine scene who was once head winemaker at Niepoort, one of Portugal’s most revered legacy estates. In contrast to Niepoort’s very internationally styled wines, Seabra’s own winery focuses on native Portuguese grapes and slow winemaking practices in the Douro, considered by many to be Portugal’s most esteemed growing region. Seabra’s approach both in the vineyard and in the cellar is non-interventionist, and his fermentations use only natural yeasts. The resulting wines are promising glimpses into the future of Portuguese wine.