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Hugo Mendes - 2020 - Lisboa Vital Branco

Sale price€19,99

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This white wine, made entirely from Vital grapes, initially presents as austere and vegetal, with subtle aromatic expression but hints of underlying strength. It's intended as a tool for studying this under-appreciated grape, but also with the belief that it will age gracefully in the bottle.

The Vital grape itself has a curious history. Once widely used as a blending grape for its volume and neutral character, it fell out of favor in the modern focus on expressive wines. However, Hugo Mendes saw potential in Vital and decided to experiment. "I liked the result right from the start," he says.

The winemaking process utilizes spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel vats at moderate temperatures. A small portion (30%) undergoes fermentation in used French oak barrels, which may add subtle nuances to the wine without overpowering its natural character.

Hugo Mendes - 2020 - Lisboa Vital Branco
Hugo Mendes - 2020 - Lisboa Vital Branco Sale price€19,99

Learn more about

Hugo Mendes

Hugo Mendes' path took an unexpected turn. Though he received a degree in Biotechnological Engineering in 2005, his true passion was wine. That same year, he began working at Quinta da Murta in Portugal's Bucelas region, quickly rising from cellar worker to Head Winemaker by 2010. Throughout this time, his love for wine deepened, and he established himself as "The Wizard Apprentice" through a popular blog dedicated to simplifying winemaking for enthusiasts.

By 2016, Hugo craved the freedom to explore other local grape varietals. He launched a pioneering crowdfunding campaign for wine production in Portugal, the first of its kind. This approach, which he called "patrons," allowed consumers to pre-purchase his wine at a discounted price, essentially financing his independent venture. This successful endeavor became a way to challenge the notion that winemaking required significant upfront capital.

Leaving Quinta da Murta in 2019, Hugo dedicated himself fully to his own label. He focuses on lesser-known Portuguese grapes, working his magic on traditional Lisboa varieties like Fernão Pires, Vital, and Arinto. His exploration extends beyond Lisboa, where he champions Castelão in Tejo and has even collaborated with XXVI Talhas to produce a unique Alentejo talha wine under his "Underdog" label.