Region: Alentejo, Portugal
Soils: Granite + Clay
Vinification: 50% crushed and 50% whole cluster fermentation and aging in a combination of stainless steel and some barrels
Aging: 12 months
Fining or Filtering: None
Notes from the Importer: Vitor fell in love with wine over shared bottles with friends and patrons at the numerous places he'd worked over the years. In 2008, he found himself head-chef of an extremely successful hotel/restaurant/winery in
Portalegre, a part of the much broader Alentejo region. His time there led to harvesting two years in a row, befriending the head winemaker and taking his own interest in the transformation of grapes into wine. Inspired by the low intervention wines he'd fallen in love with over the years, he wondered if they could do such a thing locally.
"Let’s just crush some grapes and make a simple wine".
He searched, found and fell in love with a small parcel of old vines in
Portalegre, producing two barrels of white and two barrels of red in 2010. This was essentially the entirety of the Dominó project until 2015, when he started working the same vineyard part-time with his wife Rita. It was also around this time, through a chef consultancy in the Beira Interior, that Vitor began producing a wine there ("Colmeal"). An additional attempt with dry Muscat from Setúbal was never released.
All the wines were being made and stored in their respective regions while Vitor was running his own restaurant in Lisbon, the eponymous Claro. After deciding a warehouse was necessary, Vitor and Rita found one 30 minutes out of the city... with an abandoned 1.5 hectares of vines behind it! Naturally, they rented the warehouse and started farming the vines.
With wine becoming an ever consuming endeavor for the couple (Rita was working full time as an architect), dissatisfaction with the restaurant life and a very promising 2016 vintage, the couple decided to change lives and make Dominó a full time project. In 2017, they expanded by acquiring a beautiful parcel in Carcavelos through a friend. They also started buying and picking grapes from the famous coastal region of Colares in 2018. Rita and Vitor still live in Lisbon but plan is to have 100% of the production vinified in the house attached to the Portalegre vineyards by the 2020 vintage.