How many of you remember ever having a DOC Arruda wine in your glass? Surely very few. Rescuing the centuries-old prestige of this region with a profound vocation for wine production is part of the aims of the very young Monte Bluna project.
Monte Bluna starts its journey in 2015, with the purchase of a small vineyard of Aragonez, aka Tinta Roriz, that was over forty years old, which resulted from the almost entertainment and taste for the good things in life of its founder, who upon making the first wine in 2016 realized that the quality could be a serious case.
The firm conviction about the great quality of the grapes, the differentiation of the place and the promised potential led, without hesitation, to the creation of the business venture. It is a very customized project, made by a duo, producer and winemaker, of daily care and attention to detail in the vineyard and throughout the process. The fact that the producer lives practically in the middle of the vineyards and coexists with them, accentuates communion with nature.
The vineyards are located on one of the highest slopes, above 300 meters high, right at the gates of Arruda dos Vinhos. These are hillsides halfway between the Atlantic and the river Tejo. One of these hills, Moinho do Céu, is now home to his vineyards. From the top of the vineyard, you can see kilometers of 360º vastness and amplitude, reaching the Atlantic and the Tejo river.
Decisive for the combination of power and freshness found in the wines is the temperate climate, of cold nights and moderate drought, of marked thermal amplitudes, in clay-limestone and limestone soils where one can find marine fossils, shaped by the intense northern winds.
At this moment, Monte Bluna explores 6 hectares of vineyards in production and 5ha with 15 or more years old. They intend to be a project of superior taste, actively choosing to invest in quality over quantity. Intention to bring back the greatness of Arruda, also entailed planting local grape varieties, (Tinta Miúda, Vital and Arinto planted in 2017) in order to convey the character of that place. A recently acquired vineyard, on an adjoining hillside, of 15-year-old Syrah, shows full adaptation. This is how they intend to achieve a primary goal of the project, that of raising the quality of Lisbon's wines, contributing to place it among the best and most distinctive wine regions in the world.
They believe in the fusion between modernity and tradition, assuming mistakes and virtues, in a harmony between the natural and the technological. With passion and practical thinking they operate a sustainable agriculture, assuming that "nature is mother and father, beginning and end. Man is part of it and with it makes the whole. Nature does not make the wine, but makes the man.
Regarding the wines, Bluníssima is the top of the line, 100% Aragonez. It is only produced in the best years. It comes from a 40+ year old vineyard, which conveys the greatness, strength, and uniqueness of this vineyard and the region. It is a deep wine, with ripe red fruit, complex, body and freshness, structured, with robust but delicate tannins. The final stage is involving and prolonged, and great potential for aging in the bottle. One of the great Portuguese Aragonez.
Monte Bluna Reserva represents the Monte Bluna house. It is a distinctive wine, of superior quality and obsessive detail. Made with the best grapes from each year. Monte Bluna Reserva 2018 is a blended wine, of Aragonez aged in French (80%) and American (20%) oak with Tinta Miúda, which spent in used French oak casks for the same period. After blending, it rested for another 12 months in stainless steel until bottling. A wine of extreme elegance, exquisite in terms of balance between generosity of substance and body and vibrant freshness.
Monte Bluna Tinta Miúda 2019 is a rare wine for the grape variety and terroir from which it comes. It matured in used French oak casks for 8 months followed by 6 months in stainless steel until bottling. A surprising profile of the grape variety. Unusual precision and freshness, yet complex and distinctive. When tasted, it reveals lightness, freshness and captivating structure, fine-grained tannins, intense and firm.
Tictac is produced with time, time being its obsession. The 2015 Tictac Merlot comes from a small 20 years old vineyard with less than 1000 feet in the village of Campelos, Lourinhã. It was aged in used French oak casks for 26 months, followed by a period of almost 2 years of refinement in stainless steel. It is a singular merlot, of fruit and aromatic richness, with an elegant mouth, which fascinates by its Atlantic freshness and superb universal refinement.
These are wines of moderation, sense, and balance. Simple, yet complex. Early on, the first editions mesmerized critics and appreciators from all over the world. Was a new icon born in Lisbon?