Naming this project “Magma” was just its most recent step. Last year we were so excited about the (re)birth of the wine from the old Biscoitos’ «curraletas» — on the northern part of the Terceira Island in the Azores — that we didn’t even notice we were actually creating a brand with the utmost simplicity and ease. That brand was Vinhos Magma. And the name really says it all: magma-bred wines.
It all started some while back. One day in 2009 I flew to Terceira to meet with my friend Costa. He kept talking about these vineyards in the Biscoitos parish. Grown on top of volcanic rocks, he told me the vineyards were also a stone’s throw from the sea. One could easily see great potential for Verdelho there. Its unique Atlantic character would certainly make its way into the market and bring some income to the cooperative winery and its producers.
But when I got there I was really overwhelmed. Impressed by vineyards planted among irregular walls made of volcanic stone — the “curraletas” — and the hard work producers put into their care: either protecting the vineyard or exposing it during maturation. I immediately realized there was something heroic about this endeavor. It was only after tasting the Verdelho, though, that I picked up the phone: “Master Anselmo, you have to come over!”
Anselmo Mendes shared my enthusiasm and we came to an agreement with the Biscoitos Cooperative Winery. It would allow us to monitor the winemaking process and bottle that unique wine. It was a huge success from the beginning, but the project came to a halt due to financial problems. Fortunately, it recently got back on its feet. Me and Anselmo put forward a new deal in which we would also be responsible for the management of the winery and the acquisition of the grapes from each producer at a set price of 1.5 €/kg.
Our goal is to motivate producers and replant long gone vineyards. Among the 20 hectares of the precious Biscoitos Registered Designation of Origin, only 4 are currently used for production. After this new deal, the wines from the 2015 harvest landed in the market and quickly flew away. If only there had been more wine… There will be! Magma Wines!