Articles

Rui Moura Alves, Mr. Vinegar

The title sits on it like a glove. Not because it's sour – rather on the contrary, it's a sweet person – but because he's the man who makes vinegars best in Portugal.

Talking about the wine history of Bairrada without talking about Rui Moura Alves is impossible. There will be few men who know the region as well as he does. Born in Sangalhos, he began working very early in the wine world. He was then 14 years old when he started in the old Caves Império and, at 17, was already responsible for the company's vintages. Early learning, consolidated over the years, which served him the future profession of winemaker.

He spent 25 years in caves império, but also advised other producers, being responsible for reputed wines, including Sidónio de Sousa and Quinta das Bágeiras. For its wines, it has received several awards and distinctions. Alongside the consultancies also assumes the onologic direction of the Laboratory SoAnálise, and also produces vinegars.

It is in a warehouse adjacent to the laboratory and its home, that Rui Moura Alves develops the activity of vinegar, an area where he works with equal passion to wine.  The space has stored several oak barrels where over the years the wine is transformed into vinegar. For this to happen, there must be natural aeration and temperature fluctuations, high in summer and low in winter. And so the transformation is given, over ten years, and each year, according to the winemaker, corresponds to a degree of acidity (vinegar transforms alcohol into acetic acid).

It is in a warehouse next to the house that Rui Moura Alves is dedicated to vinegars
For their quality, Moura Alves vinegars are only in gourmet shops


When he started making vinegar, he remembers, there were many who criticized him, after all, a winemaker supposedly has to make wine. Stubbornness and passion for vinegar earned him the fame he has today. A bottle of Moura Alves Vinegar, whether 'normal' or 'reserve' are worth more than many bottles of wine. It is a natural product, exclusive, made with all the dedication by Moura Alves who is already considered the man who knows the most of vinegars in the country. 

According to Moura Alves, the secret to making good vinegar has nothing to do with grape varieties but rather with the quality of wines (white and red) that are placed in the mother of vinegar , a gelatinous and velvety membrane that forms initially over the wine and that contains the bact necessary for the process of transforming alcohol into wine.  In the end, and according to the law, the product cannot exceed the two degrees of alcohol. Present in some of the best restaurants in the country and in gourmet reference product stores, Moura Alves vinegars are already indispensable today to the good table, something that the winemaker can be proud of.

Rui Moura Alves with his wife, Maria Elisabete Manão in his basement, in Sangalhos
Rui Moura Alves is a great collector of brandy


In addition to the wines and vinegars, Rui Moura Alves also has the passion of Spirits. So make sure to show your collection of more than 750 bottles, begun in 1972, all of them registered and catalogued. A work of patience, made with care and dedication. By the way, like everything you do.