Notes from Savio Soares Selections:
"In this old land of steep slopes and small valleys, located between the mountain ranges of Estrela and Caramulo, the Cister monks built the monastery of St. Pedro de Mouraz in the 12th century, giving rise to the farming of vineyards in this region. The land has changed little save the original farming practices, swallowed by industrialization. Antonio Lopes Ribiero and Sara Dionisio have brought them back: they inherited the vines through several generations, but converted it to the first certified organic vineyard of the Dão in 2000. They have since converted entirely to biodynamic farming. The need to keep this family home healthy for the coming generations moved them home from careers in the London art world. With the intent to use local varieties to the best of their terroir expression, the couple concentrates their creative efforts in respect to the cycles of nature. They farm thirteen hectares of various grapes (five red, four white), which is divided into ten parcels due to differences in soil (granite to clay), altitude (140 to 400 meters) and surroundings (chestnut, oak and pine trees). New plantings vie alongside nearly 50 year old vines. Documentation shows that the parcels are the same ones which were used as long ago as the 16th century! The cellar uses the best of modern technology but with traditional methods applied first, and is located in a stone house cut from the very rock beneath them. Gentle pressings, natural yeast starters, long lees contact in the wine and minimal handling otherwise are the time-honored practices. Stainless steel tanks with temperature control and pneumatic presses enhance the prospects. The results are clear: pure expressions of the older grape vines, with distinct transparency to the terroir they have grown up on, while still fresh and pleasurable enough to drink young and often. Antonio and Sara are a dynamic team, active in promoting the spread of their philosophies to neighboring vignerons. The more they press, the better their wine, and the wines of Portugal as a whole, will be! We think the monks would be happy, too."