I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Luis Seabra

Episode 458 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Luis Seabra. Luis is the proprietor and winemaker at Luis Seabra Vinhos, a winery he founded in 2013 after working for many years at Niepoort. Luis makes wine from both the Douro Valley and Vinho Verde regions of Portugal.

Luis Seabra helped set the stage for a new wave of dry Douro Valley wines while a winemaker at Niepoort, and since 2013 has been doing further groundbreaking work under his own label, Luis Seabra Vinhos. Luis explains the larger progression of winemaking and vineyard work in the Douro Valley over the last 60 years, and his background as a university teacher comes through here in his ability to articulate these topics clearly for the listener. You receive a better knowledge of what Luis is doing today, but also an understanding of the greater region of the Douro and how the dry wines from there have changed over time. Over the course of the discussion, many of the “big topics” of winemaking come in for a close examination, and it becomes apparent that Luis has thought quite a bit about subjects like whole cluster use, skin maceration, and grape pressing. Some of his ideas may surprise, especially if you have an idea of Portuguese dry red wines as big and bold.

But this isn’t only a winemaking discussion. Luis is very open about what he sees as the challenges for viticulture in the Douro, while also providing an appreciation of the advantages that the Douro possesses. And Luis shares some frank thoughts about recent vintages in the area. Overall, this interview provides a sweeping analysis of Douro wine, from someone who knows the topic extraordinarily well.

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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