Pico, Azores DO, A cerca dos Frades, 2020

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If you have not had the chance to visit the Azores yet, this should become your touristic priority in Portugal; and, if you like wine, history or geology, Pico Island should be your prime destination. Welcome to the youngest island of the Azores!

The history of wine making in Pico goes back to 1427 when the firsts settlements were established in the Azores.  The hard and unfertile soil forced the grape growers to plant the vines in the cracks of the rocks, close to the shore. The result was surprisingly good and a very fine wine was produced.

At a later stage, oxcarts made paths in the lava rock and basalt walls were built - stacked by hand, neither too high nor too low, just tall enough to protect the vineyard from seawater, strong Atlantic winds while allowing the sun to hit the vines. The volcanic stone retains the heat during the day and releases it at night, making the “corrals” a natural greenhouse.

Vineyards on lava ground, separated by volcanic rock; a lacework of black stone walls that could circle the equator twice; this unique landscape captivated the UNESCO who, in 2004, nominated it a World Heritage Site.

Among its wine producers, Tito and his Cerca dos Frades, deserves special attention. His wine is a result of a careful selection of sites and grapes and only the best of them reach the cellar – only 4,132 bottles were produced in 2020 and we were very lucky to receive some boxes of this special treat.

With superb acidity, Cerca dos Frades 2020 can be drunk now or during the next decade, accompanying seafood, noble fish or can just be enjoyed by itself!