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When in 2001 we, Sandra Tavares da Silva and Jorge Serôdio Borges, started our journey to make our own wine we had neither vineyards… nor wine. All we had was a dream, a vision, a project in common that would embrace our life as a couple. Its easy to understand why we named our company ‘Wine&Soul’ a project that we put our heart and soul into, warm and personal wines that symbolize our life.
We started making a garage wine we called ‘Pintas’ (spots), a single vineyard red wine that derives from a very old vineyard, a traditional Douro old vineyard mixed planting that holds over thirty varieties together. We wanted to make a full bodied wine, a wild and vertiginous wine that would parade and illustrate the flair and colossal landscape of the Douro Valley. Pintas just shows the best version of the Douro, that voluptuous fruit of the Douro, the raciness, the enthusiasm and the perfect balance of the long and lasting finish.
Later we came up with the remaining wines of our portfolio, the red Pintas Character, an easier more fruit driven version of Pintas, the white Guru, a single vineyard white we source from the high altitude vineyards, Vintage Port Pintas and our very special 5G Port Wine, a very, very old Tawny Port that comes as a blend of several very old Port wines, most of them over a hundred years old Ports.
In 2009 we inherited Quinta da Manoella, a fabulous estate planted mainly with very old vineyards, south oriented, some of them over an hundred years old. Some blocks younger, over thirty years old and did start new plantings since we received this estate in 2009. Our very first wine from our ‘youngest’ property, Quinta da Manoella Vinhas Velhas, quickly became one of the best and most remarkable wines in the Douro.
Wine&Soul has embodied the spirit of the new wave of high quality and strong individuality Douro wines sourced from very old individual vineyards, low yields limited production wines that showcase the character of each particular vineyard, the very special nature of each unique terroir. Wines made with a minimal winemaking intervention giving way for nature and terroir to take the lead and speak for themselves.
Over the years we have looked for old traditional vineyards, preferably the ones who traditionally have been used to make outstanding Vintage Port. We do believe in the close association and strong correlation between Port and Douro wines and we are keen to demonstrate that the best Port wine vineyards are equally the very best vineyards for the greatest Douro wines.
SANDRA TAVARES DA SILVA
Sandra Tavares da Silva is a highly talented oenologist and winemaker respected by her peers and considered by many to define the New Douro generation.
A skilled interpreter of local terroir, she is bright and beautiful, with a strong work ethic, maintaining confident discipline at all times. It is hard to define how such a calm and self-effacing personality could be so successful, yet her winemaking reputation is now solidly established. Born in the Azores to a Portuguese naval officer father and Swiss mother, Sandra was taken to live in Lisbon when a year old.
After formal education followed by a degree in agronomy, she moved to Italy and studied for her Masters in oenology at a catholic university near Milan, a city not famed for viticulture but style and design. It was here the young oenologist gained a clear comprehension of old-world winemaking skills, visiting vineyards in the company of fellow students and developing an appreciation for truly fine wine. At the time Sandra moved to Douro in 1999, Cristiano van Zeller was actively looking for a skilled winemaker and asked her to join him at Vale Dona Maria. This was an auspicious year for the winemaking debutant: in addition to her exciting new post and inaugural vintage at Vale Dona Maria, she was invited by her parents to help at the family vineyard.
Text and Photo by Wine & Soul