A wine from the depths

The Wine Cooperative of Pico Island - Picowines, launched a wine made with the Arinto dos Açores variety, which aged at the bottom of the Gruta das Torres. The result is a fresh, saline and elegant wine. 

"The idea was born because the oenology team wanted to make a different wine." This is why the winemaker Bernardo Cabral, pico wines, can explain why he put bottles of wine at the bottom of a cave. A wine made with Arinto dos Açores, from the 2018 harvest, placed at 17 meters deep.

The edition is limited to 1183 bottles, and aged for 15 months at the bottom of the Gruta das Torres, the largest lavic tube known in Portugal, being classified as natural monument of the Pico Natural Park. The grapes that gave rise to this wine are centuries old, exclusively of the Arinto of the Azores variety, located in the parish of Criação Velha, in the middle of the World Heritage area by UNESCO, about 420 meters from the sea. After the desengace process, he remained two days in cold macerated and fermented with indigenous yeasts in a 5,000-liter French oak balseiro. It aged on fine lees for 7 months and was bottled in May 2019, followed by aging in the grotto, at a constant temperature of 15ºC, with a humidity of 90% and a total darkness.

"After the harvest, we put the wine literally underneath where it had been produced - in the Cave of the Towers, in perfect condition, as if it were in the womb of the mother. The Grotto welcomed this wine as a mother generates and protects a child, being the ideal place for its growth", says Bernardo Cabral. To do this, Pico Wines has partnered with Azorina - Society of Environmental Management and Nature Conservation, S.A and the Natural Parks of the Azores, in order to honor the natural wealth of pico island and its people.

The wine aged 17 meters deep, in the Gruta das Torres
Pico Wines team removing wine from the cave

To be able to draw conclusions about aging in the cave, Bernardo Cabral left a few bottles in the cellar and took the others to the cave. According to the winemaker, "the wine he has aged in a cave "is thinner, more elegant", he says. It says who writes to you, who did not taste the wine in the cellar, that the wine aged down there presented citrus fruit, minerality and salinity, a profile that remains on the palate, and complemented with good unctuosity and persistence. Of all the characteristics of the wine, it is the salinity that stands out the most, which being an assiduous presence in Azorean wines, can be evidenced in this Cave of the Towers in an intense way, which reinforces its originality. The Gruta das Torres 2018 wine has a recommended PVP between 35€ and 40€, and can be found in the main wine cellars of the country.

It is recalled that the Wine Cooperative of Pico Island was founded in 1949 by the hand of 21 founding associates. After a period of preparation and organization, followed by the construction of the head, Adega Cooperativa began its production in 1961 with the noble varieties, Verdelho, Arinto and Terrantez do Pico.

The entry of winemaker Bernardo Cabral, in 2017, marks a new stage in the life of these wines, as the first monocastes are introduced assuming the volcanic terroir of Pico wines.

Currently, the Pico Cooperative has 270 members and is led by Losménio Goulart who has been concerned with fostering the wine production process, making it increasingly a reference of great quality.