Tag Archives: Vinho Verde

It’s not easy being green (Vinho Verde, Portugal)

The Vinho Verde region is in the far northern part of Portugal on the border with Galicia, Spain. The astute amongst you would have noticed (if you didn’t already know) that the translation into English is literally ‘green wine’. I’m sure most people would hear this name as I did when I was out for dinner in Lisboa, and be slightly shocked at the idea of green wine. The name of course refers to them being young wines that need to be drunk within 12 months, and the fact that the grapes are harvested a little early to retain the acidity. There are around about 30,000 growers in the region who predominantly grow the fruit in pergolas so that they can grow other crops underneath and more intelligently use the land. The wines are pretty awful in general, and are mass-produced and often pumped with carbon dioxide to give it a little spritz. As far as I know this is the only region where the region is named after the wine rather than the other way around. The associations with the region and the quality of the wine don’t make it way for the few producers who are trying to make higher quality wine, the most prominent of which I visited in the evening.

Duck rice, a typical dish from Minho in northern Portugal

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Quinta do Ameal – 19/07/2012

Branco 2011
Wonderful honey notes, quite waxy with lovely citrus rind notes. Lovely texture and ripeness but texture and finesse, focus and distinction, some richness and even a salty kind of acidity. Wonderfully fresh and will continue to open up.

Escolha 2009
Nice depth and richness on the nose, slightly broader and more floral elements, slightly riper and bolder, some honeysuckle notes. Still wonderfully fresh and light, but a very late wave of complexity and some creaminess. Wonderfully integrated oak, only adding an extra dimension of some texture and viscosity.

Solo 2011 (non-interventionist wine)
Wonderful floral sherbet notes, completely subtle and unique character, bright and pure, unadulterated. Pure and natural, no better way to describe it. Just fruit, wonderfully simple and shows what wine can be.

Branco 2003
Quite a funky oily oyster shell, water chestnuts, extremely complex, Japanese vegetables, daikon(!). Extremely subtle texture and fruit, soft and gentle, layers of complexity, very subtle creamy savoury notes.

Special Harvest 2010 (passito method)
Has kind of a spirit rum port kind of nose, oxidative and a little volatile. Good acids and focus, a little rich and textural on the front that softens very quickly. Very honey characters.

Quinta do Ameal Arinto 2006

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