aphros festa wines

Earth Day and Ouranus Day

It has been a while since I’ve posted, being flat out working on FESTA, the meet the maker Portuguese wine festival with a difference.  And I’m about to disappear for seven days’ Chairing Portugal judging for Decanter World Wine Awards.   I’m breaking cover to celebrate Aphros Ouranus 2019, a superlative wine that aligns perfectly with World Earth Day’s ‘Invest in our Planet’ call to action.

Not for the first time, this innovative whole bunch Alvarelhão from the pioneering biodynamic Vinho Verde producer plucked at my heart strings (I included the maiden 2018 release in my top wines in this Decanter Premium Vinho Verde regional profile).   It is, without doubt, the most ambitious Alvarelhão I’ve tasted.  Being from Aphros, ambitious does not mean oak, extract or heavy bottles.  With ethereal lift (as befits a wine named after a planet) and great nuance, this sensational wine will appeal to Pinot Noir tragics.

Vasco Croft Aphros; photo credit Sarah Ahmed

At FESTA, Vasco Croft will be showing Ouranus amongst his lineup of five wines (pictured top).  I also loved the lifted and pretty Phaunus Pet Nat Loureiro/Arinto and mineral depths and structure of Aphros Melissae skin contact/concrete egg-fermented Loureiro.

Suffice to say, team FESTA have been having a ball tasting through all 250+ wines to be shown by over 50 makers at Tobacco Dock this June.  We’re really chuffed that Simon Woolf (who will moderate one of four trade/press panel discussions), described FESTA’s line up of over 50 artisanal growers and pioneering producers as “the most exciting selection of Portuguese winemakers to the UK that I’ve seen so far.”

Simon’s and Ryan Opaz’s award-winning book, ‘Foot Trodden Portugal and the wines that time forgot,’ beautifully evokes the Portugal I know and love, highlighting the people, the places, their philosophy and spirit.   FESTA will similarly dust down hidden gems and place Portuguese wine in cultural context.  FESTA’s makers will themselves show and speak to their wines alongside Portuguese food, art, craft and music.   It promises to be a vibrant, thoroughly Portuguese affair.

Aphros Ouranus 2019 (Vinho Verde DOC)

Pale crimson, with intoxicating cathedral (incense) spice and pine needle lift to the delicate, star anise-edged fresh and piquant red plum and strawberry fruit. At the lighter end of medium-bodied, yet remarkably intense.  Lingers deliciously on the palate and retro-nasal (back) palate.  Putting the ‘Ooooo’ into Ouranus, this Alvarelhão will entrance Pinot tragics!   Ouranus is naturally fermented with some whole bunches on skins for around a month, then aged for around 6 months in chestnut barrels.   Slightly hazy, this minimal intervention, biodynamic red was bottled unfiltered.  Just 2,000 bottles were made in 2019. 11.5%  Coming to FESTA at Tobacco Dock on 24th & 25th June.


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