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Country of Origin: Portugal
People: Marta Carvalho, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Biodynamic
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Casal Figueira was born from the passion of the late António Augusto Carvalho (1967-2009). Montpellier trained and an ebullient viticulturist, he discovered the grape Vital on the Serra de Montejunto and began a project to not only save this nearly extinct indigenous grape but become the only winemaker to make and bottle 100% Vital.
Marta met António while renting a studio space in the countryside north of Lisbon that was attached to his rented cellar. Marta, an artist at work in her studio, would often watch Antonió working by himself from early in the morning to late in the evening. From the care he gave to the vineyards to his work in the winery, she was amazed at his passion. Marta and Antonió married, and Marta soon became part of the small team of Casal Figueira.
During the 2009 harvest Antonio passed unexpectedly while treading on his Castelão grapes due to heart failure. Marta and their children were left with fermenting wines. Sharing with him the winemaking for over ten years and with the help of many good friends, Marta found it necessary to continue Casal Figueira. She changed the old vine Vital label to bear António’s name in remembrance. Today Marta and two co-workers make up the Casal Figueira team.
About the Vineyards: Marta works with four hidden plots of autochthonous fruit that consist of vines that are 50-100 years old. The plots are named after their owners: Acacio, Cremilde, Humberto and Pedra. These vineyards were semi abandoned when António found them. Therefore it has been Casal Figueira’s mission to revive the vineyards. Marta works the vineyards but also buys the fruit. The vineyard owners simply won’t part with them.
The Atlantic defines the climate: temperate but humid, windy, and cooled by the sea. The 700 meter high Serra de Montejunto intensifies everything acting like a wall to the sea wind. Montejunto runs almost parallel to the coast. The 4 limestone plots are located on the north side, planted between 200 and 450 meters high, imparting the exceptional freshness and mineral character Casal Figueira wines show.
Perman Wine Selections: Portuguese Adventures with Casal Figueira