Factor XPTO: simplesmente… Natural.
Ricardo Melo, managing director and founder, is in charge of the recovery process of Quinta da Ermegeira, a historical site filled with stories dating back the 16th century, times when the Perestrelo family settled in Portugal and Queen D. Leonor ruled the country.
A former wine merchant in the United Kingdom, Ricardo grew up in Brazil, one of Portugal’s main export markets, where he was exposed to Portuguese wines from the very beginning of his wine education. Over time, through tasting and travelling, he came to know and appreciate the diversity of terroirs and grapes that define Portugal’s viticultural landscape. After some time travelling around Europe, he settled in London, where he was surprised to find that most restaurant lists had a very small or inexistent selection of Portuguese wines. That fact later motivated himself to search producers in Portugal who were producing wine naturally, but on a small scale. Eventually that was a bigger motivation that brought him to move to the countryside of Portugal in order to produce his own style of wines, rather influenced by other styles in Europe but also from the far south of Brazil, where there is a small group of natural wine producers, making artisanal wine focused in quality and not quantity. The ultimate goal was to produce wines naturally without the use of synthetic chemicals or sulphites in Portugals rich and understated region of Torres Vedras, just outside of Lisbon.
The passion for natural wines is a consequence of the last few years in London, tasting and meeting amazing producers. Starting seeing all these amazing natural wines from elsewhere in Europe did actually set a goal to produce natural wines with no intervention in the Atlantic climate of Europe. The decision to settle in the Lisbon region came about due to the region´s strong oceanic influence, with lingering cooling winds, warm and dry days and the outcome which are fresh wines with low alcohol and strong minerality. In the end of the day, our goal is to sought out authentic wines from Portugal that are nearly unknown to the world, to bring a fresh taste, diversity of flavours and minimal intervention to shaken the natural wine scene.
Ricardo made a close partnership in Quinta da Ermegeira with José Augusto Fasolo, an oenologist from Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of Brazil. José started out in Salton, a famous industrial wine producer in Brazil but later started producing natural wines with his mother, Lizete Vicari, in their own project called Dominio Vicari. Together in the cellar both are producing wines pairing out knowledge and tecnique to produce wines free of any synthetic chemicals, in organic with biodynamic procedures and wines free of sulphites. 100% grapes coming from Torres Vedras terroir where we work with Castelão, Alicante Bouschet and Tinta Roriz for reds and Arinto, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc for whites.