São Roque do Pico

Fortunato Garcia

XPTO Factor: Czar, distinct and singular.

The vineyards where Czar is produced are centuries-old and are located in the area of the lajidos of Criação Velha, on Pico Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site classified in 2004 due to its unique characteristics.

Being a completely natural wine, without the addition of any type of alcohol, sugar, or yeast, its composition varies according to the degree of ripeness and the uncertain climatic conditions of each year, being able to appear as dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. It is a wine that naturally reaches 18% alcohol by volume, and sometimes more. This virtue is due to the peculiar characteristics of the grapes from which it is made, the type of volcanic soil, and the leaf removal carried out a few days before the late harvest, helping in the over-ripening of the grapes. It has already won several awards and medals, including a gold medal at the Moscow International Fair in 2011. It is considered by many as the best fortified wine from the Azores. More recently, in 2014, the Portuguese wine critic, Nelson Moreira, considered the 2008 harvest as a phenomenon of nature, which would certainly go down in the history of Azorean wine.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, fortified wine from Pico Island was found in the cellars of the last Czar’s palace, Nicolau II. This wine was shipped in barrels from Pico Island and intentionally sent by the Czars for their royal banquets. It even appeared in medical recipes as a cure for certain ailments, and Tolstoy mentions it in his book “War and Peace”. Hence, it was considered that the most appropriate name for this wine would be “Czar”