Muxagat Douro Branco Os Xistos Altos
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Type WhiteRead About the Wine
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We’re all subject to prejudices, aren’t we? We all judge unfairly. And we all suffer because we do.
My life as a wine merchant tells me people judge wines unfairly. All of us have wine prejudices. And one of their victims is white wine from Portugal.
What if I were to tell you, I’ve got a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc with sensuous body and texture? Or what if I were to say, I’ve got a Rhone Valley white with intoxicating aromas of orchard blossoms and flavors of sweet summer melons? Or a Mediterranean white with a salty, smoky minerality? And then, what if I were to reveal to you that all of those qualities belong to a white wine from Portugal? Wouldn’t you want to taste it for yourself?
That white wine is the 2019 Muxagat Vinhos Douro Blanco. And I swear to you, it’s as delicious as I say it is.
Twenty years ago, Mateus Nicolau de Almeida and Eduardo Lopes began a garage winery in the tiny village of Muxagata. They called the winery Muxagat Vinhos. A year later, they moved Muxagat to an old winery with sparkling granite walls in the village of Meda. They acquired vineyards in the dry, high-altitude Douro sub-region of the Douro Superior. The vineyards they acquired are at an altitude of 1,970 feet, on steep slopes, with schist soils, in an exacting climate which concentrates yields.
Today, Luis Seabra, Susana Lopes, and Ana Sofia Silva, the inheritors of Mateus and Edurado’s vineyards and winery, grow the grapes and vinify the wines of Muxagat minimalistically. They farm their vineyards biodynamically, harvest their grapes by hand, and make their wines simply, using tried and true Portuguese techniques, like foot-trodding grapes in granite lagares, and aging their juice in concrete, amphora, and old oak barrels.
The 2020 Muxagat Vinhos Douro Blanco is a field blend of indigenous varietals: mostly Rabigato, along with Arinto and Gouveio. The grapes arrive at the winery in 20 kilogram boxes and cool for 12 hours at 50 degrees. The next day, the grapes are sorted by hand and crushed with their stems in a vertical press. The must settles in underground stainless steel tanks for 12 hours, then ferments with indigenous yeast. The wine ages on fine lees in old French oak barrels for nine months.
Muxagat Vinhos Douro Blanco pours bright gold into your glass and meets you with aromas of wild spring flowers, orchard blossoms, ripe Cantaloupe, and smoky, wet stones. On your palate, the wine is ample, with a fresh citrus acidity, and flavors of Forelle pears, Honeydew, and raw almonds. The wine is concentrated, complex, and long. And that slightly salty minerality? That’s the defining character of the Rabigato grape. The lees and oak aging judiciously amplify the wine’s round body and fine structure. From beginning to end, this wine is a joy.
When you drink a glass of this 2019 Muxagat Vinhos Douro Blanco, you’ll ask yourself, Why would anybody prejudge this wine? And then you’ll ask yourself, How could anybody say this wine isn’t truly great? And then you won’t ever prejudge another wine again.