Tiago Teles has emerged as one of Portugal’s top winemakers, and has done so as an advocate for natural wines that reflect their terroir.
My relationship with Tiago dates back several years, to when I was introduced to him and his young winery by João Roseira of Quinta do Infantado. I was immediately struck by the sensibility of the wines, the approach of using the freshness of Bairrada to produce wines with the utmost drinkability.
Back in those days, Tiago produced just two wines, “Gilda” and “Maria da Graça.”“RAIZ” Tinto is a relatively new label from Tiago, this version essentially the same wine that used to be called “Maria da Graça.” A blend of 80% Alfrocheiro, a red grape that typically offers fresh red fruit and good finesse, along with 20% of Bical, a white grape variety. The grapes are sourced from two excellent and important vineyards in the heart of Bairrada. Tiago coferments the grapes, with their skins for 10 days, letting natural yeast do its work. The wine is then aged for 10 months in used 300-liter barrels.
The 2019 vintage of “RAIZ” Tinto is outstanding. This is a return to the traditional cool-climate Bairrada style, compared with the previous warm-climate 2017 we featured a while back.
This wine offers generous amounts of fruit, spice, and length. There is still the freshness that one would expect from vineyards that are only 15 miles from the Atlantic. This is easily one of the most crowd-pleasing “RAIZ” Tinto (or “Maria da Graça”) ever produced. It has similarities to everything from Russian River Pinot Noir, to Crozes-Hermitage, to Barbera. Give this a slight chill, and you will find the contents of this bottle will disappear in record time! A great wine for the dinner table.
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