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Açores (The Açores)... out of the mist

Still a sleeping beauty, the nine islands of this fascinating archipelago, which marks the westernmost end of Europe, have everything to please the discerning traveller! Complete with spectacular landscapes with never-ending panoramic views; savagely beautiful untouched nature; wide open spaces where the colour green in a myriad of shades prevails; exuberant flora exhibiting all colours of the rainbow, with hydrangeas, agapanthuses and azaleas in abundance; solitary hiking routes; small, peaceful villages; picturesque and deserted roads, idyllic coves and unspoilt beaches. The Açores enjoys an equable maritime climate all year round.


| The Wine

The planting of vineyards and the making of wine was first introduced in the 15th Century by the Portuguese settlers from the mainland. It is said that vines were originally imported to meet their needs for the celebration of mass rather than for more personal reasons! Vines are historically grown in currais (little 'corrals', or enclosures) bounded by dry stone wals made of volcanic rock to protect the vines from the unforgiving winds.

It was not long before production was sufficiently good that the two Islands, Pico and Terceira were exporting a fortified wine well into the 19th Century. The disease of odium and phylloxera from Europe somehow penetrated the vineyards and wiped out the complete wine production.

The Island of Graciosa now makes a light wine and there are now three regulated regions which are Pico, Biscoito (Island of Terceira), and Graciosa. The wine produced tends to be thin and mainly consumed within the group of Islands. THe introduction of new grape variatals and modern wine making techniques are reviving wine production of these specks of eden in the atlantic.


| Appellation

• IPR Biscoitos

Biscoitos is a wine region located on the Terceira island of the Açores. The region has the second tier Indicação de Proveniencia Regulamentada (IPR) classification. The production of this region is primarily fortified wines.


• IPR Graciosa

Graciosa is a wine region centered around the island of Graciosa in the Açores. The region has the second tier Indicação de Proveniencia Regulamentada (IPR) classification. The region is known for its light bodied table wines.


• IPR Pico

Pico is a wine region located on Pico Island of the Açores. The region has the second tier Indicação de Proveniencia Regulamentada (IPR) classification. The production of this region is primarily fortified wines.

• Vinho Regional Açores

CVR_AçoresGenerally the new breed of winemakers who are finding new ways to make wine in dramatic landscape.

 


| Main local grapes

Agronómica

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Arinto Arinto is a very versatile grape variety and, for this reason, it is grown in almost every wine region. In the Vinhos Verdes region it is known as Pedernã. However, it is in Bucelas that Arinto gains notoriety, being considered the region’s “queen” grape variety. Arinto’s bunch is big, compact and made up of small or medium-sized, yellowish berries. This grape variety is usually used in the production of blend (more than one grape variety) and sparkling wines. In the Bucelas region, Arinto produces high acidity monovarietal wines (single grape variety), which are citrine coloured and markedly floral and fruity (when young).
Generosa -
Merlot Merlot is one of the primary grapes in Bordeaux wine where it is the most widely planted grape. One of the many foreign grapes finding their way to The Açores.
Seara Nova -
Rio Grande -
Verdelho Verdelho is a native of Madeira where it is used mainly for the production of fortified wines. Over recent years it has also been used for table wines. The Spanish variety Verdejo is similar, but DNA profiling shows that it is genetically distinct.

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