Grower: Da Cruz e Teles-COZs de Montexuntos
Region: Leiria, Portugal
Grape Varieties: Vital
Da Cruz e Teles is a partnership between two of the most brilliant vignerons/ winemakers from Portugal, Tiago Teles (Gilda, RAIZ) and Antonio Marques-da Cruz (Quinta da Serradinha).
The idea of working together started in 2015 when they approached the family of the late Jose Mendonça about working their vineyard in Figueira da Foz, a village north of Lisbon. This place was the main source of the grapes of Quinta dos Cozinheiros, the producer of a wine that became a reference point for the new generation of winemakers in Portugal, and which unfortunately came to an end with the tragic and untimely death of Mendonça. The vineyard, located just 5 miles from the Atlantic, proved ideal for the wines of Teles and Marques-da-Cruz. Its 50-year-old vines of Baga and slightly younger vines of Maria Gomes and Arinto are co-planted on clay-limestone soils and farmed organically. The proximity to the coast keeps the heat at bay and the grapes find great balance between ripeness and minerality.
Spurred by the success of their first vineyard, Tiago and Antonio purchased a 2-hectare vineyard in the Serra de Montejunto, a mountain range also in the region of Lisbon. This 35 year-old vineyard is planted on clay-limestone soils with Vital, a white varietal. Here too the farming is organic. They are not stopping here and are in the process of acquiring another vineyard in Lisbon planted with old vines of Baga.
With the introduction of the PoP labels, Tiago and Antonio are making slightly softer wines, with the reds fermenting whole cluster and shorter macerations. Tiago describes their philosophy perfectly here:
"Our objective with COZs is to make 'geographic wines' that express where they're from and age with dignity. We are not following trends, and don't want to make French, or Italian wines (however if pressed we'd say our wines are more of an Italian nature...) That is why we don't do carbonic wines, for instance. Portugal is a beautiful country but it is not perfect. I think that showing who we are is a nice way of doing things."
PoP is made of Vital from Serra do Montejunto, a mountain range 6 miles from the Atlantic. This vineayrd sits on clay-limestone soils and are 25 year old vines. The grapes are hand harvested and macerated/fermented in 20hl (about 528 gallons) concrete tanks.