Mariana Salvador’s elegant wines

We were not surprised when a leading Portuguese magazine awarded the Wine of the Year prize to Vinha Negrosa, one of the wines produced by Marcelo Aráujo’s Textura Wines. These wines are like Audrey Hepburn–they have an elegance that is difficult to define and hard to imitate. Everything is in harmony from the moment when the cork frees the first aromas from the bottle to when we taste the delicate flavors of the wine.

Together with Luís Seabra, Mariana Salvador makes these wines in the Dão region. They use traditional varietals planted in granite soils near the sky, on the slopes of Portugal’s highest mountain, Serra da Estrela. The vineyards are in the coldest part of Portugal, with copious rainfall and high thermic amplitude between night and day. 

This is only Mariana’s third harvest at Textura, but she compensates for youth with intensity. She notices everything and speaks in rapid-fire sentences. When she likes someone’s comments, she replies “boa, boa” (good, good), as if the echo of the first word was unavoidable.

In lesser hands, the grapes could produce unbalanced wines with excessive tannins. But Mariana and Luis found a way to get the best out of the grapes. They make wines with minimal intervention, relying on natural fermentation to better express the properties of the varietals and the region. The result is a collection of graceful wines that are a joy to drink.