There's no ragtag band of young winemakers vowing to carry the Douro Valley's wine region into the future, but they do have Luis Seabra. After spearheading port house Niepoort for a decade, in 2013, Seabra started his own winery, using native grape varieties to produce delicate yet powerful still wines.

What truly sets Seabra apart is his exploration of soil and terroir. Most of his vineyards are in the eastern Douro, planted as field blends, but the Granito Cru Alvarinho is sourced further northwest in Vinho Verde, closer to Galicia, Spain. In Portuguese, the word "cru" translates to raw, so this particular bottling refers to the raw, granitic soil on which the vines grow.

This is hands down the most thrilling Vinho Verde in terms of complexity and depth. Words like saline, electric, and light-footed first come to mind, and as the wine unravels, rich, oceanic, almost umami flavors come to the surface. The 2020 bottling is yet again delectable, with more open-knit fruit right out of the gate, making it nearly irresistible upon release.

Producers like Seabra are few and far between in Portugal. If I were to place him in a camp, he would be among changemakers like Raul Perez, Envínate, and Comando G, who produce fresh, mineral-driven wines in a similar vein. Whether or not other Portuguese winemakers seize this moment, Seabra has reconfigured our former perceptions about this region otherwise known for its blustering red wines. This standalone Alvarinho is not to be missed!

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