DO Pico White Wine of the Azores
The name Rola-Pipa refers to the barrel ramps which were carved out of the dried lava which makes up most of the island of Pico in the Azores. These ramps were used to roll (Rola) the barrels (Pipas) directly onto waiting rafts and boats which would then deliver the wine to the neighbouring islands and beyond.
Rola-Pipa was made using the indigenous grape variety Arinto dos Açores on the island of Pico. The vineyards are well established and have been cultivated in the traditional Azorian way of using low stone walls (known as currais) to shelter them from the saline winds which are a dominant feature of the climate here. The area is a UNESCO world heritage site on account of its viticulture.
2016 was a year which produced very low yields of very high quality fruit in the Azores and the grape harvest started in early August as is typical of the area. The grapes were destemmed and crushed before macerating in stainless steel tanks for three days at a temperature of below 10⁰C. The must was then pressed to tank, left to settle for 24 hours and then racked off its lees into a temperature controlled Balseiro (a sort of wooden tank with refrigeration capabilities). The clarified juice was inoculated with a combination of two different yeast species and fermented at 13⁰C. After fermentation, the wine was separated into two tanks, one of which went through malolactic fermentation before recombining with the rest of the wine. Throughout the whole process, oxidation was minimised in order to help maintain the fresh character of the wine. The wine was bottled in the Summer of 2017.
The nose is aromatic and tropical with notes of pineapple, honeydew melon, ripe pears and white flowers. These aromas follow through to the palate which has a pleasing weight and a crisp acidity. The malolactic fermentation gives complexity and a long creamy finish which is complemented by a mineral salinity which is a direct result of the terroir of the area. This wine is drinking well now but will develop very gracefully over the next 3 to 5 years.
The label was designed by Swci Delic, a Carmarthen born artist specialising in bold, bright, vibrant art that I think really lifts your mood. This is her website Swci Delic which I recommend you take a look at.
SOIL TYPE Basalt lava VARIETY Arinto dos Açores VINE AGE 20 – 30 years old TRAINING Bush vines HARVESTING by hand MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION 50% FERMENTATION Wooden Balseiro at low temperatures FIRST BOTTLING Summer 2017 ALCOHOL 13%