Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Portugal's Classic White Wine For All Seasons

During the winter months, we tend to lean heavily upon red wines - wines that will warm us while it is on the way down.  A Cab, a Merlot, a Zin... or a Port.  Especially a Port.  Sometimes, though, a nice white wine is what we want - even when there's a chill on the thermometer.  Light on its feet and ready to refresh, a good white wine provides a nice change of pace and keeps things interesting.  Don't make them wait for spring to roll around before you enjoy them.

The Vinho Verde wine appellation is in Portugal's Minho region, in the northern part of the country.
The Las Lilas Vinho Verde 2013 is made using Portuguese Louriero and Treixadura grapes from estate vines 25-plus years old, growing a thousand feet above the Duoro River.  Winemaker Jose Oliveira has crafted a white wine made for sipping.  At 10% abv, you can afford to do so liberally.  It's a pretty affordable quaff, retailing for around $10 or less.  This wine was provided as a sample for review by the importer, The Artisan Collection.

The Las Lilas Vinho Verde - a pale, white wine - pours up frizzante, with a slight bit of bubble action showing on the sides of the glass.  Pleasant aromas of white peaches and nectarines are the first above the rim, while the scent of grapefruit kicks its way through the mellow to liven up the joint.  On the palate, there is a nice citrus play, with orange, lemon and lime peel figuring into it. That grapefruit angle is a bit more subdued on the tongue than is in the nose, but still adds freshness to the overall sensation.

The wine finishes without extreme tartness but the memory fades fairly quickly.  Its crisp acidity and refreshing zing combine to make it a great match for a shrimp salad or a ham and cheese sandwich.  It's a great wine for spring or summer, but you shouldn't feel compelled to save it for then.  Pair it with potato soup or clam chowder right now.