Sep 28, 2021
I need to thank the Commission of Vinho Verde for hosting this trip to the region and setting up such wonderful experiences that really gave a 360˚ view of this region.
Photo: ©Wine For Normal People, Vineyards of Aveleda
After talking about a wonderful tasting at Graham’s Port Lodge in Vila Nova di Gaia (across the Douro from Porto) and Quinta do Noval, we discuss some important things about Vinho Verde that augment Episode 291 from my time there. This show is not about the base tier wines – fizzy, cheap and cheerful versions, but about the premium wines that are single grape varieties and made in interesting ways. It’s a look into the diversity that Vinho Verde has to offer, beyond what you may know!
We discuss some key points on Vinho Verde:
We discuss the main grapes and their general flavor profiles:
Photo: ©Wine For Normal People, Arinto Grape in Sousa
And the reds:
Regions and their main grapes:
Lima: Herbal, fresh and grassy Loureiro is their wine. The wines are lovely.
Ave: Both single variety wines and blends of Loureiro, Arinto, Trajadura, Alvarinho. The Alvarinho + Trajadura blend is common and produces green herb, tangerine notes. Producer: Sao Giao
Cavado: Similar to Lima, with fresh Loureiro and some Arinto for very acidic sparkling wine, Alvarinho that is peachy, floral and acidic.
Sousa specializes in floral, talc-like and acidic Loureiro , Arinto for sparkling and for blending to add body to Loureiro, Alvarinho as the more serious wine that has lime and flint notes, and Trajadura, which is light and rounds out blends. Producers: Quinta da Lixa, Quinta das Arcas (Arca Nova)
Photo: ©Wine For Normal People, Quinta das Arcas in Sousa
Amarante is in the southeast. It makes a lot of different grapes but we focused on the Avesso grape, which is floral, like pears and red apples, bready (from lees contact) and creamy, as is the nature of the grape. I love this grape, it belongs in the full whites category with Rhone whites, Priorat whites, Verdejo, and Fiano. Producers: A&B Valley Wines, Curvos
Basto is in the southeast as well, with Douro on the other side of the mountains. Avesso, Arinto, Azal, and Alvarinho are the main grapes. Azal is a rare grape that is acidic with green apple, citrus, herbal, lemon, grass, mineral notes and and acidic yet savory quality. (I mention that only about 10 -15 pure Azals made in the world, Quinta da Razas in one of them). Producer: Quinta da Razas
Photo: ©Wine For Normal People, Harvest team at Quinta da Raza in Basto
Monçao e Melgaço is the home of Alvarinho! There is traditional Alvarinho and then there is so much experimentation with the grape that flaovrs range enormously. The standard bearers show tropical fruit, lime, and floral notes with characteristic strong acidity because the wines don’t go through malolactic fermentation. Granite v schist soils make a difference and any number of styles from sparkling to oak aged, to amphora aged to skin contact wines are being made. Producers: Soalheiro, Adega de Monçao, Quinta da Santiago.
I did not visit the subregions of Paiva and Baiao so we don’t discuss them in the show, but they are in the south and specialize in Arinto, Avesso, Azal, with some Loureiro.
All in all it was a lovely trip! The producers are open to the public, so it’s an easy and fun few days to plan if you love white wines and want to learn something new!
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