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Discovering Murgas, Rediscovering Bucelas
21 Jun 2024

Discovering Murgas, Rediscovering Bucelas


By Raymond Reynolds

Fossils and molluscs - Slow movement!
In the early days of Raymond Reynolds Ltd I had this hunch that great whites could come again from this tiny old enclave of a DO. I’d tasted old bottlings from Caves Velhas and Quinta do Avelar and was impressed by how alive they still were. The fine acidity and aromatic discretion of the Arinto / Esgana Cão (Sercial) blend.
Bouncing around the rugged roads and leaning into the hairpin bends, we eventually found a grower who’d recently planted Arinto and Esgana Cão, as if it were an older mixed vineyard. I knew the winemaker.
So begun a long and successful relationship that made Bucelas our top selling white wine. Those heady days ended abruptly when the grower sold his vineyards and winery and the quality of the wine dramatically declined.
So, we began again, the long, slow search for another quality-focussed grower/winemaker from Bucelas...
Provenance, terroir, and authenticity were key factors. Historically the bar was set high.
A few years later I was introduced to winemaker; Bernardo Cabral. In conversation we both understood we shared a love of the Arinto grape and specifically in Bucelas. Bernardo seemed to get what this chalky, limestone terroir was, and the characteristics it imprinted on the Arinto. We tasted more!
He’d just begun to help João França who was regenerating an old family vineyard in the heart of the Bucelas DO.  Was I interested in tasting these, oh yes!
Over the next 3 years Bernardo kept sending me bottlings of what he’d crafted. Each new bottling showed growing complexity and precision, which convinced me he had the right approach.
I visited the estate (Quinta das Murgas) on a wet, showery day in January 2024. The brooks were torrents and the vineyards muddy, and the ensuing vertical tasting of 2017- 2021 cemented my conviction that these wines would one day be Grand-Crus.
We’re super happy and enthusiastic about adding the Murgas 2021 to our Portfolio, and commend it to you, our customers. The finest, available example of low yielding Arinto on these limestone, stoney soils.
João told us that this year they had a plague of snails feasting on the sweet young shoots.
A bizarre emergence, or maybe those fossils in the vineyards came alive again?
Or a sign that Murgas is Portugal’s 'Real Slow' wine?
Try it and let us know how slow.
BTW - The Bucelas DO is older than Chablis…
For more information on Murgas and their wines click HERE

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