Pomares joins Esteban ‘Sidecar’ project

Susana Esteban and Zarate’s Eulogio Pomares are to make a white wine in white clay amphorae for Esteban’s next ‘Sidecar’ project.

Susana Esteban's first Sidecar project was made with Douro winemaker Dirk Niepoort, who created a (Photo: Susana Esteban)

Susana Esteban’s first Sidecar project was made with Douro winemaker Dirk Niepoort, who created an Alicante Bouschet/Trincadeira blend (Photo: Susana Esteban)

Galician winemaker Esteban produces her own-label wine from indigenous old vines in Alejento, Portugal. As well as Procura and Aventura labels, Esteban also produces wine for her special Sidecar label, for which she invites other winemakers or wine industry friends to make wine in her winery in Mora.

Esteban’s first Sidecar wine – a 50/50 Alicante Bouschet/Trincadeira blend from an old vineyard in Portalegre – was made in 2014 with her friend, the celebrated Douro winemaker Dirk Nierpoort.

The second, in 2015, was made with winemaker Filipa Pato and sommelier William Wouters. This was a field blend of indigenous grape varieties from the Serra de São Mamede mix with Baga from centennial vineyards in Bairrada. The wine was fermented and aged in amphorae.

Now Esteban, who in 2012 became the first woman to be named Winemaker of the Year by Portugal’s Revista dos Vinhos, is to link up with Eulogio Pomares of Albariño specialist Zarate in Rias Baixas. Pomares will be making a Portuguese white wine – the first white of the Sidecar project – in white clay amphorae sourced by Pomares.

Speaking to the drinks business at a tasting dinner hosted at Nuno Mendes’s Taberna do Mercado restaurant in Old Spitalfields Market, London, Esteban explained that the opportunity to work with Pomares came about when she visited Rias Baixas on holiday last year.

The winemaker took with her a bottle of Sidecar wine, which prompted Pomares to propose a collaboration on the next Sidecar project – using white clay amphorae.

“He makes amazing wines, also from old vineyards,” Esteban explained. “He wants to make a white in amphora, but it’s a special amphora – a white [clay] amphora.

“In this I go ‘in the Sidecar’. To me it’s okay because new ideas are always welcome.”

Esteban said that Pomares would be visiting her vineyards in the next two weeks in order to decide which grapes to use in the Sidecar white wine.

Susana Esteban began her winemaking career at Quinta do Côtto, Douro, in 1999. In 2002 she moved to Quinta do Crasto, also in the Douro, where she worked as winemaker until 2007.

Since 2007 she has worked as a consultant for several Alentejo wineries, including Tiago Cabaço, Herdade do Barrocal, Monte dos Cabaços and Monte da Raposinha.

Her own project makes low-intervention wines from low-yielding vineyards in Alentejo which are characterised by a marked freshness and finesse.

Esteban began making wine under her own label in 2011 after finding two low-yielding old vineyards: one in Évora, which predominantly is made up of low-yielding Alicante Bouschet; and another in Portalegre, in the Serra de São mountains, which is an area of mixed planting of several different indigenous varieties.

Esteban’s Procura oaked red and white wines are made from blends from these two vineyards.

Since 2012, after finding new vineyard sites across the north and central Alentejo, Esteban has also been making an unoaked red and a white unoaked wines under the Aventura label.

Starting in 2014, the Sidecar label has attracted huge interest from Esteban’s customers around the world. The wine sells out before it has even been bottled, Esteban said, with very limited allocation for customers in 20 different countries. Last year, there were only 60 bottles of Sidecar available in the UK and just 120 in the US.

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