Tearing Up The Map: World-Class Portuguese White - 2018 Seabra Douro Xisto Cru Branco

Posted by Joe Salamone

Luis Seabra has become an overnight superstar. Taste the wines, and the explanation becomes very clear - they're brilliant.

In 2018, I named the 2016 Xisto Cru Branco my wine of the year. At the time, I wrote: "it’s hard to look at the geography of fine wine the same way again." 

The Xisto Cru Branco has a class, detail, and cut that's shocking.  It’s a white wine from Portugal’s Douro region (aka Port country) that clocks in at 12.5 percent alcohol. It has such an emphatic mineral imprint and refinement that the only point of reference I could reach for was Chablis. To be clear, the Xisto Cru is so utterly unique that you won’t get that much mileage out of the Chablis comparison.

Luis Seabra is a key player in the vinicultural revolution that’s making Portugal one of the most exciting places in all of wine. Seabra was the winemaker at the famed Port house, Niepoort. In 2012, he left to pursue working in a more personal style. “Cru” translates as “raw” in Portuguese, and Seabra strives to present the terroir in the most unmediated way.

Here you get choice vineyards and extremely sensitive and largely hands-off winemaking. The Xisto Cru Branco comes from mica schist soils in southern Douro. The vines were planted between 1920-1933, and the wine is a blend of Rabigato, Codega, Gouveio, and Viosinho Dozelino Branco. The high-altitude vineyards experience dramatic differences between day and night-time temperatures. This helps explain how Seabra is able to coax such extraordinary verve out of the wines.

The 2018 Xisto Cru is finely tuned, sleekly mineral, and beautifully harmonious. It offers up a crystal clear stoniness that's persistent. What's really impressive is how it combines detail, drive, and concentration. 

In short, this is simply a thrilling wine. We bought every bottle that we could get our hands on. Even still, we should warn you that there's never enough of this wine to go around. Production is modest, and when people taste Seabra's wines, they frequently get obsessed with them. 

To order, email offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2018 Seabra Douro Xisto Cru Branco

Special Bottle Price: $67.95
Special 4-Pack Price: $251.80 ($62.95/btl)

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