Susana Esteban Procura Rosso 2013
One does not easily find Susana Esteban's winery. It's hidden from the main road, no signage, no indication that anyone would be welcomed there to taste wine. Finally getting there was one of those tests of perserverance with the GPS that I believe will pay off for years to come.
Perhaps everyone's GPS will fail them and I hope we can keep Susana Esteban a secret for a long time. She might be Portugal's most shining star.
Susana owns no vineyards and makes her wine in a re-purposed machine shed, super clean now, yet very production-oriented and no nonsense. There's a fermentation room, a barrel hall, and a bottle stock area. That's it. It would be like taking a tour of the mechanic's garage. Only a wine geek would ooh and ahhh.
Her project began nearly a decade ago, wishing to highlight the Alentejo's forgotten gems--old vineyards deep in the hills of this wonderful area east of Lisbon. She consulted here and there, lent her knowledge and experience as an oenologist and winemaker, and one day was pointed up a long dirt road, to the top of a hill near Portalegre, and disovered an old planting of native Portuguese red grapes.
Two years later, Procura (a word meaning "the search") was born.
The vineyard was all inter-planted with dozens of different red grape varieties (!). She thinks it could be nearly a century old. She farms this plot meticulously, and it yields a very small quantity of grapes, just enough for about 3000 bottles.
Her other vineyard, disovered after a long 'procura' is of pure Alicante Bouschet, a grape more well associated to Portugal, but largely unkonwn in the greater wine wine world. This vineyard gives grape of great concentration, power, and structure. It truly is a real find. Situated on schiste soils (black slate) and very low-yielding, it gives grapes that small and saturated--sort of like Priorat
After about 16 months in a mix of new and 1 year old French barrels she bottles it then allows it to wait for another 2 years before release. This now 5-year old wine is a gorgeous example of the best Portugal has to offer.
Procura Rosso is like the aformentioned Priorat, a Grand Cru St. Emilion, and a chocolatey racy Chateauneuf all put together. As pure and complete of a wine as I've tried in many years--from ANYWHERE!
Just 5100 bottles to go around. Our 60 arrive in late June.