TN: 2019 Fita Preta Vinho Regional Alentejano Ancestral

For me, António Maçanita is the no. 1 guy to look out for today in the Portuguese wine scene. No one else manages to be this irreverent, polished and somehow anti-modernist at the same time, while having an extraordinarily diverse activity that encopasses the Azores (Azores Wine Company), the Douro (his own family label with his sister Joana) and, above all, the Alentejo (Fita Preta). He has been salvaging forgotten varietals and abandoned terroirs, making wines at once balanced and provocative and wrapping the whole thing up in an attractive brand. To those unable to source his wines for the time being, I can only recommend giving a listen to his appearance on the I’ll Drink to That podcast.

Ancestral is a white made out of Antão Vaz, Roupeiro, Tamarez and Rabo de Ovelha - the later two being much maligned, forgotten underdogs from the Alentejo lands. The acidity is biting, the aromas are chalky, leesy, waxy, full of tart citrus and underripe nectarine - is this the Alentejo? - the finish is taut and carries plenty of punch. I would be more than OK to pay 20€ or 25€ for this wine, but fortunately it’s 9€ - a ‘mere’ entry level effort from Fita Preta which, like all of its wines, punches well above its weight and manages to tease you at the same time. Chapeau!

I only recently started seeing a few of Fita Preta in the States. Wish I had gotten to visit this past spring as was planned. Now I guess I have to wish and hope for next year!

I wish these wines would sweep away all of the ‘good value’ supermarket Portuguese wines being sold in the US. Sadly production numbers are likely not great (there are many limited editions).

This remains a huge pleasure and a terrific value. I have never had an official house wine, but no other bottling has come closer to that description. Paired well with spaghetti alle vongole and cilantro.

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