2013 harvest will be perhaps, the best harvest ever, of this wine.
A wine with unique characteristics that has no alcohol added, can reach 20º volume and a minimum of 16% alcohol by volume. This virtue is due to the peculiar characteristics of the grapes from which it is made (arinto, terrantez and verdelho), the type of volcanic soil and the defoliation carried out a few days before the late harvest, helping in the ripening of the grapes. It is also clear to the uncertain climatic conditions of each year, to contribute for this wine to vary between the dry, half dry or half sweet. In some years it is simply not done, because it does not reach the quality necessary to be called Czar.
It has won several awards and medals, including a gold medal at the Moscow international fair in 2011. He is considered by many to be the best liqueur in the Azores. More recently, in 2014, the Portuguese wine critic, Nelson Moreira, considered the 2008 harvest as a phenomenon of nature, which would go down in the history of the Azores wine. However, its producer says that the next launch in 2021 regarding the 2013 harvest will be perhaps the best harvest ever of this wine.
Golden brown color wine, great aromatic complexity, strong taste volume, thanks to the sugar it contains and a persistent finish. The vineyards where the CZAR is produced, are centenary of Criação Velha, from the island of Pico and are located in the area of lajidos, a world heritage site classified by UNESCO in 2004 due to its unique characteristics.
After the Russian revolution in 1917, CZAR wine from the island of Pico was found in the caves of the palace of the last Tsar, Nicholas II. This wine was shipped in barrels on the island of Pico, by boats sent on purpose by the Tsars for their royal banquets.
This late harvest or fortified style have a long tradition on the island. They were produced in considerable volume in the 18th and 19th century, when they were successfully traded overseas, especially to the USA, Europe and Russia. According to Garcia, there is a reference to the island’s wine in Tolstoy’s ‘War & Peace’ (a point to verify when I have a moment!) and on the menu for a Banquete Grão Mestre Ordem de Malta from 1797, which mentions two styles of licoroso – Pico Seco (dry) and Pico Doce (sweet)
Azores wine wins exceptional ripening conditions in the adversity of the climate, geography and in the harshness of basaltic terrain, along with specific techniques refined and adapted, shows great wine quality and recognized uniqueness.
Building a labyrinthine web of "currais" (black stonewalls made of volcanic rocks where vineyards are planted staying thus protected from the wind and salty sea air) results in an almost surreal landscape classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage in 2004. The “currais” are an ancient technique, to ensure protection of cultures surrounded by miles of water in every direction in the mid-Atlantic, given the effects of the strong sea winds and salty air therefore well mitigated.
Pico, Biscoitos and Graciosa are already qualified as Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions under the EU wine regulations. Two are fortified and wood-aged: Pico and Biscoitos.
In the 18th century Azorean wine was widely exported to northern Europe and even to Russia, where after the 1917 revolution, bottles of "Pico" Verdelho wine were found stored in a Czar’s cellars.
"Biscoitos" was the wine of caravels trade routes from the oriental world to Europe in the 16th century.The great quality fortified wine of Biscoitos is made of Verdelho grapes apparently brought by Flemish settler.
Currently, fortified wine of Biscoitos and Pico are often used as an "honor drink" in several official events.
Azorean wines traditionally are made mainly from three varietals: Verdelho the same type of grape used on Madeira wine, Arinto a versatile grape variety usually used in blended wines and Terrantez a white Portuguese grape that makes a sweet fortified wine.