Aphros is the project of Vasco Croft, a fomer Lisbon architect who has become one of the pioneers of biodynamic winemaking in Portugal. The estate in Vinho Verde spreads over nearly 20 hectares of land and forests, six of which are vineyards and four are chestnut orchards.
Phaunus is made from the indigenous Loureiro grape, a key component in many classic Vinho Verdes, with their fresh citrus and green apple notes, light body and slight spritz. This is quite different. Refreshing yes, but with more colour and body from fermenting on skins in clay amphora, where it ages for seven months on the lees. An opulent and complex orange wine with honeyed fruit and nut aromas, a silky texture and a fine grapefruit-like acidity.
Their red offering Vinhao is just as unusual, being made in a region far better know for its whites. Made from the indigenous Vinhao variety, this is an elegant and lifted wine reflecting its cool climate origins with aromas of crunchy strawberry, sour cherry, mint and spice. One for fans of Loire Valley Cab Franc perhaps.
Quinta da Boavista is the granitic Dao vineyard of Joao Tavares de Pina. Joao works with organic and sustainable practices, using neither pesticides or herbicides. The vineyards are surrounded by oak, pine and eucalyptus trees as well as plants including chamomile and lavender that play a crucial role in encouraging biodiversity a creating a natural barrier against fungal disease.
Rufia Tinto is his red bottling, a blend of local Jaen, Touriga Nacional and Rufete from 35 year old vines. Aged for 9 months on the lees and a further 9 months in old oak, it's bright and energetic with lovely florality (violets and roses), fresh red and black fruits and a salty minerality.
Rufia Branco is a white blend of local Dao varieties Encruzado, Cerceal Branco, Malvasia and Bical from 35 year old vines. Aged for 9 months on the lees it has a salty, mineral intensity with powerful aromas of dried stone fruit (apricot), straw and nuts.