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The Azores wines are produced in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, 1600 km from the mainland, in an archipelago with 9 islands. Graciosa, Pico and Biscoitos are the three demarcated subregions.
The nature of the volcanic soils and the markedly maritime climate give the Azores wines a unique and exclusive identity, irreproducible elsewhere.
The climate is mild and very humid throughout the year, with sudden changes. Azoreans usually say that it is possible to experience all 4 seasons in a single day. The Azorean vineyards are avid survivors in their own right. Fruit of a viticulture in extremis, they resist salinity, winds, absence of soil, proximity to the sea and brackish water.
Shielded from the winds by dry stone walls called “currais”, carefully built more than 500 years ago, they are part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage – Pico Vineyard Cultural Landscape. These walls protect the Azorean vineyards from the wind and from the salinity that is ''sprayed'' when the waves break, the landscape's identity.
The most important grape varieties are Verdelho, Terrantez do Pico and Arinto dos Açores. Verdelho is the traditional grape variety of the Azores, considered to be the oldest and most traditional, the same as Madeira's Verdelho. Studies of the genetic profile of this variety have shown it to be a different variety from the Italian Verdicchio, the Spanish Verdejo and the Portuguese Gouveio, which is also called Verdelho on the mainland.
The Arinto dos Açores is a completely unique variety, indigenous to the Azores, and its origin is unknown.
It is the variety that is most resistant to the archipelago's climatic adversities. Terrantez do Pico is one of the three indigenous grape varieties of the Azores. It is the grape variety that covers the largest cultivated area. It is unique in the world and was once practically extinct. The geographical designation combined with the name is not to be confused with the Terrantez planted in Madeira and the Terrantez from the mainland, also genetically proven to be distinct varieties.
The white wines of the Azores are very fresh, saline, usually identified as mineral and iodised. They usually come from Verdelho, Terrantez do Pico or Arinto dos Açores single variety vineyards.
Azores red Wines are made from the Saborinho, Agronômica, Aragonez, Castelão, Rufete, and Touriga Nacional grape varieties, amongst others. They are fresh wines, with complex aromatic notes, sometimes reminiscent of moss or mushrooms.
They are persistent and taut on the palate.
In the Azores, it is called “vinho de cheiro” (fragrant wine), in other regions it is known as “americano” (American) or “morangueiro” (strawberry). In the Azores, and in some parts of Europe, the old tradition of making wine from grapes originating from American hybrids persists: crosses between American species and vitis vinifera. The grape varieties that are used to make “vinho de cheiro” (fragrant wine) are an important cultural heritage that should be preserved. Despite the ban on the sale of "vinho de cheiro", it is a tradition that is still alive among wine producers in the Azores.
The fortified and sweet liqueur wines, which go far back in tradition, are also famous wines from Pico. With a great ageing potential coming from the acidity of the grape varieties used. They are golden in colour with aromas of almonds, honey, and salty notes, with a good balance between sweet and acid.
Azorean wines are a niche product, due to the small quantities produced. Even so, they can be found in specialised wine shops outside the archipelago. Search for our Azores wines in our online shop and enjoy.