About a year ago we offered this incredibly complex and delicious white wine blending two different Azores Island terroirs. A small cache (14/6pks) has just arrived of literally the same perfect NV blend of the indigenous Arinto varietal from the 2018 and 2019 vintage.
Sourced from the Capelinhos area on the island of Faial – the well-draining, sandy sites from the volcanic ash eruption in 1957 – and from the crusty, many layered basaltic lava flows, or “lajidos” of the Criação Velha in Pico Island (UNESCO Heritage) just a short ferry ride away, a uniquely nuanced balance is achieved.
After an extremely gentle pressing, each wine is fermented in cement with indigenous yeast, and then raised together in a mixture of cement, terra cotta, and neutral French oak. Bottling is without filtration.
My notes include – “With decanting, and slight warming — Gorgeous melange of tropical fruits nuanced by fresh, salty ocean minerality and supporting vibrant acidity. Lushly textured and a pure delight, the finest Azores wine we have ever tasted.”
“The NV Ameixâmbar (2018/2019) is, as indicated, a blend of the 2018 and 2019 vintages. Like its vintage-dated siblings in this report (the 2018 and the 2020), this is mostly an Arinto dos Açores with the last 10% being Terrantez do Pico and a touch of Verdelho in a field blend, partly (30%) aged for four months in new Slavonian oak, while the rest was in cement tulips. It comes in at 13.4% alcohol. This is an interesting blend, closer to the 2018 in style simply because this is more mature than the vigorous 2020 youngster. Sometimes open and expressive but nowhere near peak, this lovely blend retains fine structure and precision. In mouthfeel, it seems round and caressing. It should age well, perhaps better than indicated. As it airs and warms, it becomes seductive. The older vintages in the producer’s lineup are certainly drinking better right now, and the 2020 is just as clearly unevolved. Drink this and the 2018 first. This might be the best of the regular (non-Reserva) wines this report. There were 7,700 bottles produced. 2022-2032”. – 93 points, Wine Advocate (August 2022)