Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Branco 2017

Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Branco 2017

Regular price$24.00

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Press 4 Mix/White • March 2024 Direct Press Selection

Maria João Pato comes from a family of contrarian winemakers that have been pushing the envelope in coastal Portugal's Bairrada region for some time now. She is the daughter of the legendary winemaker Luis Pato, who put the Bairrada on the map by sticking to native local grapes like Baga and Bical when most were abandoning them. Her sister Filipa Pato has her own biodynamic winery started 2000s. Though Maria has been in charge of winemaking at the Luis Pato estate since 2017, you may know Maria from her other label made at the same winery, Duckman, with it's outlandishly louche labels featuring photos of a giant pink duck, which she says represents her grandfather, João. He was one of the few Portuguese winemakers to bottle his own wine back in the 1950s, an extremely rare occurrence in that period of Salazar's dictatorship when virtually all wineries were cooperatives and nothing was exported. 

The Vinhas Velhas Branco is a blend of equal parts Bical, Cerceal, and Sercialinho from vines ranging from 40-60 years old. They come from two parcels, the Bical from a limestone vineyard owned by Maria's mother's family and the Cerceal and Sercialinho from vines on sand planted by her paternal grandfather. 2017 was Maria's first vintage in charge and the wine absolutely rips. There are Riesling-esque qualities, bracing and pungent notes of sea brine and lemon verbena, with a stony, mineral lift. The vivacious edginess is complemented with a depth of umami and some leesy complexity on the finish.

These wines age extremely well, so much so that the 1991 and 1990 have graced our shelves recently and are some of the most remarkable examples of aged white wines we've tasted. This tranche of 2017 was meant for Australia and therefore bottled under screw cap, but the importer didn't take what was expected. In Portugal, where corks and cork trees have such prominence, screw cap wines are nearly impossible to sell. We won't have that problem. Jonathan Kemp

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