A new wine fair is coming to town called PURA SEDE, to celebrate and appreciate raw and natural grape juice. On March 8, PURA SEDE will bring more than 50 of Europe’s finest natural winemakers to Lisbon.
A new addition to Portugal’s winemaking legacy
The popularity of natural wine is growing and growing all across Europe and Lisbon is fast becoming one of the new natural wine capitals.
If you’re in town, you’ll have the chance to try natural wines directly from each producer and hear about what organic farming and low intervention vinification means to them. All this will be enjoyed in an ancient foundry in Alfama called Suspenso, with panoramic views of the Tagus River.
What exactly is natural wine?
Natural wine is quite simply wine, as it has always been made for centuries. Somewhere along the way, the mass production and monoculture farming revolution came along and created standardized wines that were somewhat less alive.
It might seem like an abstract concept, that a wine could be alive, but just imagine the plant itself growing as a healthy vine, living pesticide-free and in soils rich in nutrients.
Now imagine those grapes are harvested, often by hand, and the winemaker allows the fermentation to run its natural course. The winemaker constantly monitors the process and allows it to dictate when the wine is ready to drink.
The natural way involves minimal intervention in the wine cellar. This, among other things, means avoiding added enzymes to speed things up and avoiding temperature controls. It’s also common practice to add very little or no sulfites to natural wines, which means the wines go on living, even in the bottle.
It might seem like a lot of work — but if it’s done well, the result is something truly special that tickles the taste buds and is bursting with flavor. It’s a true labor of love.
More and more winemakers are returning to these ancestral production methods that involve a deep appreciation for the terroir and the soil they grow in.
What was once considered a hippie fringe movement is coming to the attention of all those interested in eating and drinking well.
Why now? Why Lisbon?
Demand for natural wine from those who eat and drink in Lisbon has increased a lot. As people become more eco-conscious consumers, they are demanding more and more specialty products that are produced in a more sustainable way.
Lisbon is certainly on the map for traveling foodies, and with a bustling expat community, these factors have combined to boost demand for natural wine in Portugal in the past few years.
There is also a rich culinary tradition in Portugal that means Portuguese people too are fans of these special European natural wines making their way into the country more and more.
Not to mention that Portuguese winemakers are producing some incredible natural wines at this time. What was a small movement just a few short years ago has exploded into something bigger than the Portuguese natural producers can keep up with!
This increase in demand has meant Lisbon’s natural wine scene has really taken off in the last few years. Numerous high-quality restaurants and bars have opened recently, serving exclusively natural wines.
Who is involved in PURA SEDE?
First and foremost, the winemakers. Fifty producers will travel from far and wide to come and offer tastings of the wines they produce.
Four of Lisbon’s natural wine distributors are collaborating in this event and will have producers from their wine portfolio’s attending: LADIDADIWINES (the organizer), Caverna do Vinho, Rebel Rebel, and Vino Vero.
The restaurants that will be present, each offering a unique street food dish are:
- Senhor Uva (Renowned chef Stéphanie Audet and revered sommelier Marc Davidson’s popular Estrela wine bar)
- Comida Independente (Lisbon’s beloved natural wine and artisanal deli)
- Pigmeu (the Portuguese pork specialist)
- Maître Renard (the one-stop shop for artisanal cheese and wines)
Other Lisbon natural wine eateries will host events in the days surrounding the event with the winemakers pouring their wines on location, alongside specially paired dishes. Watch the PURA SEDE website for updates on all the events taking place in the week of the event. Also keep an eye out on social media for the hashtag #SemanaPuraSede (in English, the week of pure thirst).
The official winemaker dinner, open to the public after the event is over, will be held at Vino Vero in Travessa do Monte starting at 8 pm on March 8. Despite Vino Vero being a new bar in Lisbon, it feels like they have been there forever in Lisbon’s heart.
What to expect from the fair
Location: Suspenso, Alfama, Rua de Santiago 19, 1100-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Tickets: On sale here. A few tickets will be kept for sale at the door but book online to avoid disappointment. Tickets cost €20 for gastronomy professionals and €25 for the general public.
Hours: From 10:30 am to 1 pm for gastronomy professionals only, 1 to 8 pm for public entry, and 5 pm is last entry.
Where to buy natural wine in Lisbon
Can’t wait until March to try some natural wines? You can find natural wines sold at all of these places in Lisbon:
- Comida Independente
- Prado Restaurante
- Prado Mercearia
- Vino Vero
- We Are Ona
- Rebel Rebel
- Essencial Restaurante
- Senhor Uva
- Taberna do Calhau
- Tasca Kome
- Black Sheep Lisboa
- Cafe Dede
If we have whetted your appetite and you’re curious about natural wines, book a ticket to the fair here and we will see you there!
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