Maçanita – Sister & Brother

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Would you be able to work closely with your brother or sister – or would you kill each other? António and Joana Maçanita seem to get along just fine in their mutual Douro project which goes under their last name, Maçanita. The wines are more than promising and the siblings aren’t afraid of pushing the boundaries and forcing us to leave our comfort zone; something which for example their Malvasia Fina is a proof of. Meet the Maçanita’s and get to know their wines!

António is today a well-known name, for his commitment in the Alentejo region and more recently for the Azores project, wines that represent some of my greatest discoveries in the last years. Stunning Arinto, Terrantez and Verdelho. Joana has committed to awaken Algarve, once a very well-known region. She is consulting five wineries in the southernmost of Portugal. Two oenologists in the family; what are the odds for that?

And now brother and sister has joined forces in Douro, producing wines from the different parts of the valley. Some classic blends, some odd birds such as a pure Malvasia Fina on the white side and a pure Sousão among the reds. Here’s a first selection of their project, a quintet of wines which all deserves your attention.

2015 Maçanita Touriga Nacional Rosé

The queen of portugese wine grapes and with the potential of being vinified in so many different ways. Sparkling, powerful reds or more elegant ones as well, fortified and of course as rosé – like this one.

Here, brother and sister Maçanita uses Touriga Nacional from Cima Corgo and most of the fruit comes from  vineyards below 200 meters of altitude. Up to six hours of maceration, this wine delivers wet rocks, pomegranate, herbs and gentle flower notes. On the palate a dry, quite powerful rosé with red berries, pomegranate, blood orange and a delicious acidity supporting the whole package. Persistent and lovely purity. A rosé with a sense of place and one you don’t have to rush. That is, save a few for this upcoming summer. 

Rating: 89 p

2015 Maçanita Douro DOC Branco

This is white Douro in a nutshell. Taste it and if you like it, start exploring these amazing whites from the valley. Three grapes joining forces. Viosinho in the front backed up by Códega do Larinho and Gouveio. Mostly Baixo Corgo but also a fifth from the Douro Superior in the eastern parts of the region. Again, high altitude vineyards. And only steel, no oak.

If you’re in to wines expressing a sense of place, the bouquet of the 2015 Branco will please you. Green apples, lime peel, oozing wet rocks, modeling clay and a herbal note. Lovely purity; it shouts Douro. On the palate a marked acidity, stone fruits and just a hint of unripe pineapple. Citrusy, midweight style with fine balance and lots of steely minerality. A real food wine. Will age if you’re in to that stuff. 6,000+ bottles produced.

Rating: 90 p

2015 Maçanita Gouveio Tank fermented (by Joaninha), Branco

First of all, why is there only 618 bottles produced of this one? Can more Gouveio please move up to vineyards at 700 meters above the sea level? This is Joana’s wine and the grapes are sourced from the Baixo Corgo area. Whole bunch pressing. Hangs only with inox. This is the Douro version of Riesling with it’s gentle nose and steely minerality.

Green apples, unripe tropical fruits, wet rocks and a herbal character. The acidity is ever so present, my kind of mouth cleansing, and the purity of the fruit impresses. Still there is concentration and more than just cool character notes in this wine which should age pretty well. Stone fruits, flowers, oozing rocks. Love it.

Rating: 91 p

2015 Maçanita Malvasia Fina (by António), Branco

I have to say this right away, the Malvasia Fina isn’t the wine to pour when you and your friends chitchat. That is, if you don’t want to end up only talking about the wine. Not an acquired taste, just a style you have to be somewhat prepared for when pouring it. The grape also known as Boal in other parts of mainland Portugal, has a problem. Well, it has more than one, but the main issue is spelled oxidization. This wine is made by António and he solved the problem by simply allowing it to oxidize. Fermentation took place in a horizontal tank and barrels. No sulphur added before bottling. Instead he relied on the stirring the lees during aging. 

Well hello there, this is a fun sniff! Lots of apples, think English cider, flowers, smoked tea and modeling clay. On the palate a slight funky apple note  although the wine is clean in its taste, lots of cool character trademarks, herbs and wet rocks. Good concentration and fine green apples acidity. A wine you kind of like more and more for every sip. And yes, best on the second day when aerated. Roughly 1,000 bottles of this Malvasia Fina from Baixo Corgo. A  wine to serve to those who think they’ve tasted it all.

Rating: 90 p

2014 Maçanita Douro DOC Tinto

Cima Corgo juice aged in both steel and used barrels. Dominated by Touriga Nacional, complemented with a blend of grapes from really old vineyards and then some Sousão as well. That is the grape called Vinhão in Minho and the one you never should drink while wearing a white shirt. Ask me. 

Purple but not impenetrable color. Generous nose of ripe dark berries, plums, gentle oak, wet rocks and violets. Pretty seductive. On the palate a finely balanced taste with Touriga tannins, sun-drenched berries, licorice and spicy well integrated oak. Schisty. Pure, dry and slightly floral. Will handle aging well but try to keep your hands off it.

Rating: 90 p

Buy any of the Maçanita wines? Use wine-searcher to locate them. Also search for other wines from António Maçanita and Joana Maçanita if you like the style of the Douro project. Here’s a post on António’s naked Touriga Nacional and one one a gorgeous Castelão.

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