Rui Madeira is a Portuguese winemaker who has returned to his native land having travelled and worked across the wine world.
What he saw on his travels taught him a great deal, not least the fact that Portugal has a treasured heritage of unique grape varieties and terroirs that are more than capable of producing world class wines. He comes from Lisbon but as a child spent much time at a family home in the area of Beira Alta close to the Douro and it was in that region, at Vermiosa, that he set himself up, establishing his own winery and acquiring vineyards.
His vines grow at 700 metres altitude in Beira Alta, where there is plenty of sunshine but temperatures are cooler and there is a great swing between daytime highs and night-time lows. This swing assists in the retention of freshening acidity in the grapes and extends the ripening period so that flavours, colours and aromas are maximised.
The soils are schist and granite shot through with veins of quartz which reflects the sun’s rays onto the vines. They are also nutrient poor, forcing the vines to push their roots deep in search of sustenance and water, all of which aids in the growth of the best fruit possible. Native grapes are all he grows here because he knows that they are suited to the tough environment: alfrocheiro, tinta roriz, jaen (aka mencia) and touriga nacional for the reds, and fonte cal, rabo de Ovelha, and síria for the whites.
Rui also now makes wines further afield, in the Douro itself where he makes table wines and port, and vinho verde, in which he produces a varietal alvarinho.