What am I: Vitor Claro Colar
Vítor Claro was a force among Lisbon area chefs from 2010 to 2016, having restaurants in downtown Lisbon as well as Cascais. It was through a partnership with Dirk Niepoort that he gave Vitor a taste of winemaking life. Over time, Vitor came to crave the rigor and agricultural demands of winemaking more than the cuts and burns of the kitchen, and eventually, he gave himself completely to viticulture.
Focusing at the beginning on almost hidden, almost forgotten plots of old vines in the hills above Portalegre, in the Serra de São Mamede, Vitor and his wife Rita wanted to show a different face of the Alentejo – a fresher face, with bright fruit, levels of moderate alcohol, and the clear influence of the mountain’s altitude. Its first wines were made in the small village of Salão Frio in Serras de Portalegre.
With his drive to discover and restore more of Portugal’s old and sometimes abandoned vineyards, his portfolio has grown to include wines from Arruda dos Vinhos, Torres Vedras, Sintra, and more recently Carcavelos – a name that brings wine magic along with it. for those who know its history.
This wine arises from sourced grapes in the renowned Colares region, distinct from its famed bush-trained vineyards. The vineyard rests at an elevation of 100 meters, mainly hosting Castelão with nuances of Caladoc and Aragonez. “Colar,” translating to “necklace,” also playfully alludes to the wine’s origin. Fermentation involves whole clusters (50%) and destemmed whole grapes (50%), undergoing a five-day maceration in stainless steel. After fermentation (including malolactic completion), the wine is clarified in stainless steel. Typically, 25mg/kg of SO2 is introduced to the grapes during pressing. An additional 25mg is incorporated into the wine a month before bottling in spring. The total SO2 content remains below 30mg/L.