Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Pleasure From Portugal: Vinho Verde Wine

The Vinho Verde wine region in northern Portugal is home to some of the best white wines this side of Albariño.  Vinho Verde means, "green wine," which is not a color reference but a suggestion that the wine is quite youthful.  The white wines of Vinho Verde typically have a wonderful acidity and a slightly fizzy nature.  The lower alcohol content makes them great choices for summer sipping by the pool, but they work quite well as aperitifs at holiday parties and pair graciously with cheese plates or pasta.

The Portuguese wine company Casal De Ventozela has winemakers Fernando Moura and Pedro Campos work with grapes from their estate vineyards to create compelling white wines.

Produced in the Vinho Verde sub-region of Vale do Ave, the 2018 Casal De Ventozela Loureiro utilizes Portugal's Loureiro grape.  I love Portuguese grape names. I know a bit about wine and grapes, but when I read through a list of Portuguese grapes, it always holds some surprises for me.  Some grapes always arise with which I am not familiar.  Here are the grapes grown on the Casa de Ventozela estate: Loureiro, Trajadura, Fernão Pires and Arinto (Pedernã), Padeiro de Basto, Espadeiro and Vinhão.

The Ventozela wines are sustainably grown, with no chemicals used and hand harvested.  They are vegan and the wines are fined with bentonite.  The 2018 Loureiro has alcohol at 12% abv and an incredibly affordable price of around $10.

This Vinho Verde wine is all citrus on the nose - Meyer lemon with a smidge of grapefruit.  It's a fairly stunning bouquet.  The palate shows a crisp sensibility and more of that lemony presence.  A fantastic acidity closes out what is a fabulous white wine experience from Portugal.  The wine will remind the sipper of summer, but it has the weight and complexity to make it just as valuable over the holidays, with ham, turkey and stuffing.

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