A Unique Terroir
The choice of Vidigueira as the headquarters of Ribafreixo Wines was a decision dictated by two orders of reasons. An affective one, as the family roots of one of the partners, Nuno Bicó, were there, giving him a deep knowledge of the land, people and traditions. The other purely rational, supported by weighty arguments, likely to lead to the considerable personal and financial investment that was the basis for the creation of Herdade do Moinho Branco.
Located in the heart of Alentejo, the municipality of Vidigueira has an excellent microclimate for growing vines. Bounded to the north by the Serra do Mendro, which establishes a natural border between Évora and Beja, the Upper and Lower Alentejo, it registers higher average annual rainfall and milder temperatures, despite its location so far south. The soil conditions are also ideal, since they are shale lands, a factor that gives minerality to the wine. In recent years, the region has known a remarkable dynamism linked to the production of wines, recognized in Portugal and the world for their exceptionality.
Vidigueira is part of one of the eight DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) sub-regions in the Alentejo. These are wines produced in a properly controlled region, very similar to what is practiced in France (AOC). This classification is assigned by an official body CVRA (Comissão Vitivinícola Regional do Alentejo), in order to give qualitative unity to the rich mosaic of regional differences. Alentejo wines are, in general, full-bodied, have in common smoothness, the multiple subtleties born of the profile of the terroirs. In the case of Ribafreixo Wines, this personality overlaps with the indispensable technology: they are wines that express soil, grape varieties and climate and therefore never run the risk of standardization.
Why are our wines so different and special
The unique microclimate of Vidigueira
Our vineyards are part of the DOC sub-region of Vidigueira. The microclimate in this region reveals a set of specificities that make the conditions for wine production unique: perfect sun exposure, hot and dry summers, tempered by a cool breeze from the Atlantic and a significant variation between the temperature at night and the one of the day.
The Terroir of Schist
The specific microclimate of Vidigueira is combined with the shale soils characteristic of our estate, which, in turn, originate wines full of freshness and minerality. Alentejo wines are, in general, full-bodied and smooth. The nuances, even if subtle, are a direct result of the terroirs and the different climatic conditions where the wines are born.
At Ribafreixo Wines, we believe that one of the factors that contributes significantly (around 80%) to the making of a good wine is the way the harvest is carried out and the conditions in which the grapes are presented at the cellar door. The agricultural work, carried out throughout the year in the vineyard, is crucial for the well-being and quality of the grape. The culmination of this continuous and meticulous care is the harvest, which is why we choose to have our grapes carefully harvested by hand, without resorting to any type of machinery that could jeopardize our grapes. Every year, around mid-August, our vineyards are “painted” by experienced field staff from Vidigueira, who know this land and take care of it like no one else.