After qualifying as a viticulturist, Luis Seabra completed a Masters in Winemaking before he went on to become Head Oenologist at Niepoort. After nearly a decade of doing something he loved for someone else, Luis decided to start making wine in his own winery. He is incredibly knowledgeable about wine making in the Douro, but decided to explore the terroir in a different, less conventional way than other Douro producers.
The philosophy at Luis Seabra Vinhos is encapsulated in the brand name Cru, which means raw. Luis’s aim is to make wines that really tell you where they come from, wine from specific vineyards with minimal intervention, wines that are true and honest, raw and pure…. Just getting back to basics.
The only thing used in the wines is sulphur and, even then, in low amounts “just to keep the wines on the track.” Luis prefers to have more oxygen in the juice and in young wines, for them to be able to stabilize in all ways and to age better in the bottle. The impact of this minimal intervention approach is readily apparent in Seabra’s textural, un-pushed wines and the funky, slightly nutty rather than fruity flavour profile of his whites in particular.
Luis is always looking for the highest quality grapes and deals with several growers whom he knows and trusts. He constantly experiments and explores new possibilities: various soil types (mostly schist & granite), different altitudes (up to 600 meters above sea level), indigenous grape varieties and old vine parcels. Luckily many of the old vine plots which are tucked away in remote corners of the Douro Valley have survived, with an odd selection of local grapes intact. Often co-planted, these old vines may seem problematic when an exact breakdown of each variety is required on the label, but for Luis Seabra, this is a problem of secondary importance. His wines are marked by exceptional length and concentration of flavour. Using French and large Eastern European oak barrels only for maturation and in some cases for fermentation, preserving the character of the grape and expressing the vineyard is the priority.