Xisto Illimitado, by famed Douro winemaker Luis Seabra, is a Portuguese analogue to the idea of a “village” level Burgundy. A field blend of 6 varieties planted across 3 subzones in the Douro, Illimitado is a survey of the schist-driven terroir in the appellation.
A wine that offers an introduction to the dominant soil type in the Douro valley. Minimal interventionist winemaking. Fresh, mineral driven red that showcases the purity of fruit achievable in the Douro valley. Sustainably farmed vineyards planted from 1960 to 1980 in schist soil at 400-600 m (1,232-1,968 ft) elevation.
Vineyards located in Cima Corgo. This is a subregion that experiences extreme highs and lows from a temperature standpoint, with some of the greatest day-night temperature delta in Portugal. As such the fruit experiences extended hangtime. Vines planted exclusively in yellow schist soil at 400-600 m (1,232 -1,968 ft.) elevation.
Alcohol Grade: 12%
Aging/ Vinification: 30% fermented in stone lagar with foot pigeage; other 70% in vat, 100% whole cluster. Maceration – lagar for 8 days; vat for 25 days. Racked to neutral barrel for 1 year followed by 5 months in tank. 100% natural yeast fermentation (no cultivated yeasts).
Best to have it: 14-16ºC
Production: 750 cases
Ratings: Ranked on Wine Spectator Top 100 wines to drink in 2021.
2018 91 WS; 2017 93 D; 2016 93W&S; 2015 91IWR
The Winery: Luis Seabra Vinhos
After a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro, and Vinho Verde. Rather than a single vineyard, Luis prefers to focus on single soils in his wines, such as Granito, and Xisto (schist). He seeks out old vines, and uses low intervention methods in vinification.
Seabra’s idea was to make uncompromising wines: the sort he wanted to make, without thinking about what the market wants. He wanted to create authentic expressions of these regions. He sources grapes from top vineyards in the Douro and Vinho Verde. Winemaking is low intervention, with natural yeast ferments. All his reds are now 100% whole bunch, and he aims for low extraction, though leaves the wine on the skins for as long as 30 days, extracting very gently. These are wines of balance and finesse, and are worth seeking out.