The year 2010 marked the beginning of a new life for Vitor Claro.
A celebrated chef in Portugal, he caught the wine bug, and along the way was mentored by the iconic Dirk Niepoort. They had met while Vitor worked at one of Dirk’s restaurants. For many of us in the business, having a wine mentor results in not only knowledge but often the sharing of great bottles from all over the world.
In 2010 Vitor made his first wine from a vineyard that he rented in the Alentejo region of southern Portugal. With his goal of producing well-balanced, fresh wines, he found a vineyard in Portalegre, a distinctly cool part of Alentejo at the base of the Serra de São Mamede foothills. As with many old vineyards like the one that Vitor found, it was co-planted to several different varieties.
There was something special about that vineyard, and, despite its minuscule production, the wine started to become noticed in the local wine scene. Vitor continued on this path, producing more and more wine, from different parts of Portugal. In 2016, he decided to close his restaurant “Claro!” and focus solely on wine. He was even able to purchase that first vineyard, called “Salão Frio.”
dominó is truly a “garage” wine label, making around 2,000 cases of wine in total. Vitor and his wife, Rita, do almost everything.
Across the range, these are decidedly individual wines. Vitor’s approach to wine is similar to how he cooks. Simple, natural, not manipulated. You can apply these terms to both wine and food, and Vitor has found a way to do this in both of his professions. Whether you call his wines natural, funky, or unique, they do paint a picture of where they come from.
I’m very excited to announce the new arrival of the 2017 dominó “Salão Frio.”
This is a very special wine. It’s a blend of indigenous grapes, including Aragonez, Castelão, Arinto, Tamarez, and Grand Noir. The soils are a mixture of clay and granite. The vineyard itself is quite diverse, with some vines facing north and others facing south.
Once the grapes are picked, they are whole bunch pressed, then macerated in stainless steel tanks for two months. The wine is aged in used French oak barrels for eight months. It is aged in bottle for two years before release.
The 2017 is truly beautiful. At only 12% alcohol, it shows a remarkably elegant side, with very delicate red fruit, and subtle earth notes on the nose. It is grippy, with soft tannins on the midpalate, fresh acidity, and a long finish.
It is a remarkable food pairing wine, as it can work with fish such as mackerel and salmon, or pair with meats.
This is truly a steal for the price, and it will be enjoyed by wine lovers who enjoy everything from Burgundy to Nebbiolo to wines from Etna.
Don’t miss it!
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