Luis Seabra, Douro, Portugal
After qualifying as a viticulturalist Luis Seabra completed a Masters in Winemaking. He went on to become Head Oenologist at Niepoort and received great acclaim in that position. After nearly a decade of doing something he loved for someone else, Luis decided to start making wine in his own winery. He was incredibly knowledgeable about wine making in the Douro, but decided to explore the terroir in a different, less conventional way than other producers. Mono-varietal, highly extracted and heavily oaked reds have dominated winemaking in the Douro for the last few decades. Instead, Luis strives to achieve balance and finesse, preserving as much of a vineyard’s character in his wines as possible.
Luis is always looking for the highest quality grapes and deals with several growers whom he knows and trusts. He constantly experiments and explores new possibilities: various soil types (mostly schist & granite), different altitudes (up to 600 meters above sea level), indigenous grape varieties and old vine parcels. Luckily many of the old vine plots which are tucked away in remote corners of the Douro Valley have survived, with an odd selection of local grapes intact. Often co-planted, these old vines may seem problematic when an exact breakdown of each variety is required on the label, but for Luis Seabra, this is a problem of secondary importance. Thanks to these, his wines are marked by exceptional length and concentration of flavour. French and large Eastern European oak barrels are used for maturation and in some cases for fermentation, but preserving the character of the grape and expressing the vineyard remains a priority. Apart from producing wines in Douro Valley, Luis Seabra also makes unique example of Vinho Verde DOP, called Granito Cru. The fruit for this premium white comes from four different, north facing plots with old vines planted on pink granite soil in the best parts of the region, near Melgaco.