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Fitapreta Azores Wine Company Vinhos Maçanita Sexy Wines WineID

30 Junho, 2022

There is a strong sense of continuity at Fitapreta, even if its current steward is of more recent vintage. The estate, on the edge of Évora, the capital of Alentejo, was once owned by the church. It is based around the Paço do Morgado de Oliveira, which dates at least to 1347 when it was controlled by the archbishop Dom Martinho Pires de Oliveira.

The archbishop drew up rules for wine production in Évora, which were then approved by King D. Dinis. His descendants still have an involvement at the estate, under the Saldanha surname, in the person of Dom João Saldanha—surely a record for consistency in Portugal.

 

Physical evidence of winemaking taking place here long ago exists in the form of a medieval lagare (a shallow, granite tank used for foot-treading grapes) as well as amphoras from the 15th century. And there are records of wine being sold in barrel in the 19th century under the brand name Enxarrama, before vines disappeared due to phylloxera. Vines again grew from the 1940s onward, and today there are 75 acres planted.

António Maçanita, a native of the Azores, trained as a winemaker in France, California and Australia. Since 2004, with a yen to make a mark on the Alentejo wine scene, he has produced wine in various facilities under his own label, Fitapreta.

António Maçanita segura um copo de vinho tinto, no pátio da Fitapreta, com o pôr do sol atrás.

He found a permanent home for his wines at this historic estate in 2016 when he bought 87% of the Morgado de Oliveira from the Saldanha family and built a cork-lined winery just across the courtyard from the medieval palace. It will soon become his actual home: Maçanita is currently restoring the medieval buildings, and his family will move in later this year.

Maçanita describes himself as a “slow winemaker,” eschewing modern techniques as much as possible, so it is appropriate that the place where he has settled should have so much evidence of ancient winemaking. During the restoration project, Maçanita says they’ve “discovered what must be the oldest and largest winery remains in Evora.” It is as if history is demanding that wine should be made here.


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