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Hugo Mendes - 2021 - Lisboa Castelão Tinto Magnum 1.5L

Sale price€41,99

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This red wine celebrates the Castelão grape, vinified with simplicity in mind. All the grapes are harvested together and fermented as a whole bunch. The winemaking process is minimalist: the grapes are completely destemmed, fermented in a sealed tank with wild yeasts, and pumped over regularly to maintain the health of the wine. An early pressing ensures the focus remains on the fruit character, avoiding the extraction of harsh tannins. Malolactic fermentation occurs naturally, and roughly 20% of the wine sees a short aging in barrels to soften the fruit further.

In essence, the winemaking avoids harsh techniques to showcase the inherent qualities of Castelão. Destemming, natural fermentation in a closed tank, frequent pump-overs, and early pressing all contribute to a light-bodied yet intense wine with a smooth, dry, tannic texture. This approach reflects the desire to create a fruit-forward wine reminiscent of older methods, allowing the Castelão grape to shine through.

Hugo Mendes - 2021 - Lisboa Castelão Tinto Magnum 1.5L
Hugo Mendes - 2021 - Lisboa Castelão Tinto Magnum 1.5L Sale price€41,99

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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.