Ask anyone for the best Alvarinho in Portugal and people will point to the extreme north in the sub-region of Moncao and Melgao, right on the border with Spain. Nortico Alvarinho is a superb example of the grape’s hallmarks: fresh citrus, peach and tropical aromas paired with clean, juicy fruit and vibrant minerality. Nortico is produced on the south bank of the Minho River in plots so small they are called “Jardins”, gardens in Portuguese. Soils here are granite and schist, and although it rains a lot (2,000 ml annually) the inland area is a little warmer than the coastal plantings, which allows for perfect ripening. In the words of Rui Abecassis, founder of Obrigado, “Nortico Alvarinho is one of those projects that has been in the making for quite some time. It started in my family’s small tile atelier, where I learned to love tiles. The traditional ceramic tile atelier was more a labor of passion and tenacity than business, as it always seemed to be on the brink of bankruptcy! To this day, tiles are produced exactly like in the 18th century, each 14 x 14 cm tile shaped from scratch and painted by hand. Walking the streets of Oporto or Lisboa you may encounter tiles on both modest and important buildings, in churches, hospitals, and stores, in private houses and public gardens. Tiles are a durable building material, and an early form of storytelling and graphic design. We wanted the Nortico label to evoke those tiles to capture that spirit and Portuguese aesthetics.
Nortico is from tiny vineyard plots in Moncao and Melgao, on the northern border with Spain’s Galicia province – the best Alvarinho growing area in Portugal. Unlike others from the area, Nortico has no added CO2, making for a richer, fuller, well-balanced wine.