Fitapreta Tinto de Castelão
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FitaPreta is António Maçanita’s estate winery located outside the ancient Roman city of Evora, set among the sun-drenched hills of Alentejo. Founded in 2004 as a partnership between António and the British viticulturist David Booth, FitaPreta has since evolved into a benchmark estate for the New Portugal, frequently earning Antonio accolades like “Winemaker of the Year.”
António works only with indigenous varieties and ambient yeast ferments, crafting wines that are keenly representative of Alentejo, but with a balance and freshness that few others in the region have been able to match. Painstaking vineyard work, nighttime harvests and entirely gravity-fed winemaking are elements of António’s process that yield wines that are “full of sun,” as he says, but with lift and elegance instead of cloying power and over-extracted fruit.
António operates on the Portuguese idea of “Palpite,” or intuition, to communicate terroir, with a foot firmly planted in both camps of tradition and modernity. He allows each parcel to ferment slowly and separately, combining the final blend to showcase a tapestry of the landscape of Southern Portugal. Each markedly different, but with a through line of elegance and purity, the broad scope of the wines he creates at FitaPreta is a testament to his inquisitive intellect and fastidious attention to detail in his winemaking processes.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
Castelão, also known locally as Periquita, is a red wine varietal that seems to have fallen out of fashion in the era of big, concentrated reds. Studies show that Castelão originated in this region, where it still remains the 3rd most planted varietal, although its current role in the local wines tend to be secondary. The locals say that Castelão’s talent lies in its aging potential and not so much on its concentration. They say “that Castelão needs time”. So, with this quest in mind we have given this “Tinto de Castelão” the much needed time. Time to macerate (35 days), time to age in barrel (18 months), time to age in bottle (12 months) and time to flourish. So that it can become the wine it is meant to be: light in color, elegant in body with persistent tannins.
2020 90WA, 2019 93WA
100% Castelão from 50 year-old vines.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
All bunches entering the winery are passed over a sorting table and subjected to intensive quality control. The grapes are gently crushed and moved by gravity into temperature regulated vats. Spontaneously fermented using indigenous yeasts in stainless steel, with 30% whole cluster. Aged for 18 months in French oak barrels.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
The Alentejo is a large region in southeastern central Portugal, which is one of the agricultural centers of the country. The climate is Atlantic-Mediterranean, with significant diurnal-nocturnal temperature differences. This temperature range produces fruit with a natural combination of maturity and freshness. The Alentejo sees 3,000 hours of annual sunshine and 600mm of annual rainfall, less than 15% of which falls during the growing season. These vineyards are planted to rocky schist at 300-400m elevation above sea level.
Light ruby in color. Aromas of plum, tobacco and spice notes. On the palate it is medium-bodied, with good freshness. A wine that is bright and elegant, and finishes with firm tannins.