Arribas Wine Co: exciting low-intervention wines from Trás-os-Montes, Portugal


Ricardo Alves and Frederico Machado (pictured above) began the Arribas Wine Company in 2017. They are based in the village of Bemposto in the municipality of Mogadouro, where they have family ties. This is in the Arribas do Douro region on the border with Spain, on the international Douro. Spain has a region called Arribes across the river.

Here they have been taking over old vineyards, some of which were abandoned as elderly vignerons retired with no one to take over. Their first wine was Saroto, from a plot of less than 2 hectares which they regenerated.

The vineyards are interplanted with a range of varieties, including Tinta Gorda, Malvasia, Bastardo, Verdelho, Rufete, Bastardo Branco, Verdelho Vermelho and Tinta Serrana. Winemaking is very simple (low intervention) but precise, respecting the vineyard origin of the wines. These are superb wines.


Arribas Wine Co Saroto Blanc 2022 Trás-os-Montes, Portugal
Whole-bunch foot trodden and macerated for 4 days. Vineyard planted in 1974 with traditional varieties. Lots of freshness and focus here with bright fruit and good acidity. Has some grip under the pure, crisp fruit with nice tannins from the skin maceration. Finishes fresh. 94/100

Art & Wine Solar das Bouças Loureiro 2021 Vinho Verde
This is a blend of two different areas: higher up and close to the river. Aged in barrel for 18 months then goes to stainless steel. Bright, fresh and focused with sweet apple and lime notes, with a chalky edge. Vivid. 91/100

Arribas Wine Co Saroto Palhete 2022 Trás-os-Montes, Portugal
This is from grapes grown more on the plateau with granite and schist soils. Half and half red and white grapes, foot trodden as whole bunches, left for 2 days, then fermentation finishes in oak. Fresh, vivid and linear, this is a lighter-styled red wine with good acidity and a bit of structure. Nice intensity with a bit of grip. Juicy, tart and linear. 94/100

Arribas Wine Co Biaplana 2022 Trás-os-Montes, Portugal
This is from another village, and it’s 60% red grapes, 40% white. Crushed to stainless steel, two week maceration with cap wetting only, aged in stainless steel. Pure, elegant and refined with lovely fruit. Fine-grained, stony and mineral. Fresh and detailed. 94/100

Arribas Wine Co Saroto Tinto 2022 Trás-os-Montes, Portugal
This is from vineyards close to the river, with granite soils containing some quartz. Average vine age is 70 and this is 70% red, 30% white. Whole-bunch foot trodden and then pressed to used French oak. Textured and quite rich with some tannins. Vibrant cherry and berry fruits with some grip, and a nice acid line. Firm and really good. 94/100

Arribas Wine Co Quilómetro 2020 Trás-os-Montes, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. Picked a little later, this has 2 weeks carbonic maceration then it is foot-trodden and pressed. Spends 2 years in barrel and then 6 months in stainless steel. Lovely texture here with nice acidity and some depth. Smooth and ripe with luxurious cherry and berry fruit and a touch of almond. Very fine. 94/100

Arribas Wine Co Tinta Gorda 2022 Trás-os-Montes, Portugal
This is a local name for the main red grape variety of Arribas, Juan Garcia. 14 days maceration after foot treading whole bunches. Matured in oak, 20% new. Firm, grippy and fine with lovely weight and juicy red cherry fruits, as well as raspberries. Grippy and vivid with real intensity and a great acid line. Needs time. 94/100

Arribas Wine Co Saroto Blanco (extended skin contact) 2020 Trás-os-Montes, Portugal
This spends three years on skins, with a raised lid allowing for some flor development. 255 small bottles made. Full orange colour with some tangy flor notes on the nose. Lemon, wax and honey on the palate with good acidity and a rounded texture. 93/100