I’ll Drink to That: Portuguese Winemaker António Maçanita

Episode 450 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and features António Maçanita, who is involved with a number of wine projects in Portugal as a winemaker. António is a partner in Fitapreta in the Alentejo, the Azores Wine Company in the Azores, and Maçanita Vinhos in the Douro Valley of Portugal.

The scope of change in Portugal is amazing in its own right, as for example the 800 hectares of vineyards that have been planted in the Azores in the last few years stands out all by itself as a staggering number. But it seems that most every new change in Portugal is also a conversation with the past, and those vineyards in the Azores aren’t so much new as reclaimed. As António Maçanita explains in this interview, the outlines of the old, abandoned vineyards are still very much there, with rock walls marking out where the vines were planted during the wine heyday of the Azores, over a hundred years ago. Some of those plots are finding new life as growers return to planting the vine at an astonishing pace. António’s fluency with old wine texts, some long forgotten, provides what he says with a deeper resonance, and he connects up the history of the place with the current day. Particularly interesting are the insights into the genealogy of the grape varieties, as António builds a case for the grape varieties of the islands having followed the shipping route to the Americas along their history. And while this might be an interesting episode if it focused entirely on the Azores, António’s knowledge of other important Portuguese wine regions is just as compelling. For example, his search for other examples of Douro Valley wines than what we know to be there, having already explored some of the far corners of that large area. If you want to know what is happening at this moment in Portugal, while also understanding how the current day is a reflection of the past, this is an interview for you to check out.

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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine