«Our wines are made by the sea.» – António Maçanita
Unique drops from the middle of the Atlantic
In fact, everything began with a misfortune. At the age of 20, António Maçanita had only one thing on his mind: surfing. He wanted to study marine biology, messed up the course numbers, and accidentally ended up in agricultural sciences. A nudge by fate perhaps? In any case, the die was cast – and today the surfer rides on the wave of his wine products' success. However, the sea has remained his linchpin, as António makes wine on the Azores. The Portuguese island group in the middle of the Atlantic is a natural paradise that most people only know from weather services. This is because the high-pressure region of the same name has a strong influence on the weather. On the Azores, one has the impression that all natural forces are found here in their most extreme forms: rain and sunshine frequently alternate, wind usually whips across the countryside, the sea rages, volcanos seethe, and earthquakes shake the earth. No doubt an extreme location for making wine. That was something António had to discover for himself. As a student with youthful overconfidence, he planted a small vineyard. Even before the first harvest, a heavy storm swept across the countryside and destroyed everything. «It was as if a higher power were trying to say to me: Come back when you're ready», says António. He then spent time in California's Napa Valley, Bordeaux, and the Portuguese mainland. After 10 years he felt ready to try again, and as a result founded the Azores Wine Company in 2014 with two friends. Since then they have restored several age-old vineyards at Pico volcano. The natural forces are now rewarding him with fresh wines that are utterly unique.
Robert Parker: 91/100 points