Insula Vinus &

Insula Vinus 'Chao de Lava' AA Azores 2022

Regular price$39.00
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Press 4 White • April 2024 Direct Press Selection

The Azores are a group of volcanic islands 870 miles directly west of Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic, and they were uninhabited until the 1400s when it was claimed by Portugal. By the early 1800s the Azores were producing a huge amount of wine, some 13.4 million liters that was exported all around the world, including Brazil, the US, Angola, and Russia. Like the rest of Europe, this was sharply cut down by the accidental introduction of vine diseases from the Americas and both quality and quantity have suffered since the late 19th century, though things are improving considerably today.

The leading Azorean winemaker is probably Paulo Machado, who grew up there and helped start the Azores Wine Company in 2013 with vineyards he had been acquiring and relationships with local growers. This winery brought the Azores a lot of press and attention, though Paulo now is using fruit from his vineyards for his own project, Insula Vinus. These are truly impressive wines and any fan of Canary Island wines, for instance Envínate, will be blown away by Paulo's project.

The 'Chao de Lava' is made from Arinto dos Açores, not related to Arinto from the mainland, but possibly an offspring of Verdelho. It's the most commonly planted grape in the Azores. The grapes for this wine come from south facing vineyards on Mt Pico, which are some of the coolest parcels in the Azores as they are covered in clouds and fog. As such the wine clocks in at only 12% alcohol and has more acidity than other Azorean wines. It makes for an enchanting, elegant wine with hints of creamy opulence, lemon pith, Comté rind, and complex oceanic mineral depth. Jonathan Kemp

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