Every place has something different. But the decision to make something out of it, coupled with the necessary know-how, can give the land something unique.
Knowing this, Ribafreixo – Sociedade Agrícola, Lda has been designing Herdade do Moinho Branco, at the gateway to the town of Vidigueira, since 2007. Its 92 hectares are the result of a collection of abandoned agricultural plots from the region’s declining population and reduced agricultural profits. The name Moinho Branco, or “White Mill”, preserves the building’s original name among local residents who, in bygone days, used the nearby stream to mill the grains they produced. Meanwhile, the new owners’ work is transforming a once arid landscape into fertile lands with 83 hectares of vineyards. This arduous task comes from the desire to produce superior wines on this land – specifically, white wines – to sell in the international market.
For this reason, Herdade do Moinho Branco’s grape varieties are predominantly for white wines. They account for 75% of the total in a property located right next to the IP2 roadway connecting Évora and Beja, in the heart of the Vidigueira Designated Region, an area of predominantly white wines. Vidigueira, in particular, has always been known for the quality of its white wines. This unique situation is due to the Serra do Mendro range close to the north, which creates a microclimate in the region and at the property, making it the coolest spot there. This natural range curbs and moderates the particularly hot summer temperatures of the Baixo Alentejo, and also helps to increase precipitation. This is the main differentiating factor of Vidigueira. However, watering is still critical to the vitality of white grape varieties. The estate’s main
variety is Antão Vaz, followed by Roupeiro. Other varieties include Perrum, Rabo de Ovelha, Alicante Branco, Arinto and Alvarinho. The remaining area houses red varieties, mainly Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet and Tempranilho.
Choosing these varieties is nothing more than letting the land express itself, capitalizing on the best it has to offer. Ultimately, just letting it “speak”. So much so, that at Herdade do Moinho Branco, we decided to keep and recover 20 hectares of old white vineyards, all more than 35 years old. The vineyards recovered were chosen based on their condition, together with the idea of only keeping those with the varieties selected during the future estate’s strategic planning. After this comes all of the work and wisdom to make their qualities stand out. Ribafreixo – Sociedade Agrícola’s aspiration to achieve something truly important began to show itself in the consolidation of these dispersed land parcels.
MEET THE WINE MAKER - Paulo Laureano
Considered the best winemaker in 2004 by Portugal’s most popular wine magazine Revista de Vinhos, Paulo Laureano is a renowned oenologist from the Alentejo region (Alter do Chão). Whilst taking a degree in Agricultural Engineering at Évora University, Laureano discovered his life-long passion for the world of wine, and took his post-graduation course in Oenology both in the Portuguese city of Oporto and Australia. Later he started his consulting career and worked as a lecturer and researcher within the field.
Presently Laureano is providing Ribafreixo with consulting services for our wines. Time and time again his personal style and passion for winemaking makes our wines not only a tribute to the Alentejo region, but especially to the town of Vidigueira. Laureano is known for what he does best… excellent wines!