The glass in his hand stirred with vigor and enthusiasm, stirred again and again, and yet another, the glass to his nose, then to his mouth. The pleasure of these gestures is denounced by a look of happiness, almost childlike, a huge smile, which after another bit of wine, makes him raise his eyes to the ceiling in a reflex of concentration. The evaluation of the pleasure you are feeling shows. “Look at this acidity!” Exclaims Daniel Afonso at the end of his assessment. "My wine will be as good as this, or better!" This, which Daniel refers to, is a white Burgundy wine from a renowned producer and untouchable reputation.
Daniel Afonso is the producer of the Baías e Enseadas wine. In fact, the right title would be “vinhateiro”, which is how he likes to call himself. Until his early twenties, he did not drink wine. Having acquired his taste, he naturally and smilingly allowed himself to be dragged into this world. Until arriving at his own wine, the path was made with a glass in hand, in countless wine moments, lunches and dinners, taking a long time, giving the palate a respectable mileage of flavors, gradually leaning its taste towards wines of fervent freshness and vibrant acidity.
This is the style of Baías e Enseada wines. It is the style that makes you vibrate and make your eyes open with satisfaction, it is the style that moves you. The taste for wine had already led him to venture into the opening of wine bars. The next step was natural: making his own wine. And that is exactly what he did.
And to make "his" own wine, it could only be "in the best region for white wines in the country", and this, for Daniel, is the region of Lisboa. And it is there, very close to the town of Colares, a place where salinity hangs in the air, where the force of the wind forces the placement of palisades, in the protection of vineyards led by creeps, that Daniel decides to plant his vineyards. While a tiny wine region, Colares, once had a revered reputation for wines made from tangled vines, such as tarantulas with legs spread across the “sand floor”, Daniel's wines do not come from there, but from the surroundings, on the “ground” land. -jojo ”. This is the name that local people give to clay-limestone soils. And in these lands Daniel planted his two vineyards, on the land he already owned, a task carried out between 2013 and 2014. The vineyards are called Vinha da Ribeirinha, in Codiceira, and Vinha do Campo, in Gouveia. In the first, clay predominates, making more voluminous wines, and in the second, limestone prevails, giving rise to more elegant wines. Virtue is not in the middle, as it is popularly said, but at the junction of the two. Hence the complexity will come. And nothing better to represent the region, as he appreciates so much, than the native varieties, like the white Fernão Pires, Arinto and Malvasia de Colares, and Castelão in the reds. Even so, he could not resist planting two foreign varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These two are Daniel's soft spot.
Despite the major effort, common to many of these small projects, friendships and good relations with the “neighbors” are worth a lot, and for Daniel it was no different. The wines are of minimal intervention, but this little intervention "is a lot of work", requires attention and monitoring at all times. Yeasts, only indigenous, sulfurous, as little as possible, the many foggy days during the mornings and late summer evenings despite the wind, do not advise the biological, pure and hard, as Daniel would like. The good part, that makes Daniel smile, that fills his soul, that makes his eyes shine, is the effect of the micro-climate of the place! The salinity that comes from the Atlantic breeze and the slow pace of maturation that preserves natural acidity.
The first “real” wines, from the 2016 harvest, like a very acidic lemon that makes the eyes close and make faces, show the temperamental style that shapes the character of these wines. “Zippy-pe-de-doo-dah race and pace to the palate” was the expression used by Sarah Ahmed, from The Wine Detective, to describe the Arinto. The emotions are really strong. Without contemplation. They don't want to please everyone. In addition, Daniel strives to do what many producers should do.
Very sentimental with his wines, he makes sure that they are not served too cold, and discusses in detail, above centigrade, low centigrade, just as it is unshakable in the appropriate glass for each of them.