For those who still think they do not like Vinho Verde
Whilst dining out with a group of friends recently, I was charged with the task of ordering the wine and opted for Soalheiro Alvarinho as a safe bet, decent quality white to please all. But one of the guests at the table did not seem happy with my choice and told me that he really is not fond of Vinho Verde.
It made me realise how many people there must be out there who give anything from the Vinho Verde region a wide berth as they have been put off in the past by the traditional-style Vinho Verde wines. But things have changed a great deal over the last 20 years or so and what is today still known as the Vinho Verde region produces some of Portugal’s greatest white wines, in many different styles. For example, excellent Chardonnay is grown in the region as are many other varieties producing wines that are not in any way similar to what we know as Vinho Verde.
The Alvarinho varietals produced by the likes of Soalheiro and Anselmo Mendes are perhaps the best-known high-quality white wines produced in the region, but the other traditional grape of the Vinho Verde region, Loureiro, also produces some outstanding wines.
One of the best producers is Quinta do Ameal, an organic quinta near Ponte de Lima on Portugal’s northern border. These are excellent summer wines, full of flavour, fresh and low in alcohol (just 11%).
The standard Quinta do Ameal Loureiro is ideal as an aperitif but equally well suited to enjoy with grilled fish, salads and seafood – floral and fresh white fruit aromas on the nose, smooth and balanced in the mouth with a refreshingly clean finish.
They also produce a premium wine, Quinta do Ameal Escolha, also made exclusively from the Loureiro grape but from the very best grapes, fermented and partially aged in used French oak with bâtonnage. This is an outstanding wine of some complexity with notes of orange blossom on the nose and very well integrated (almost undetectable) oak, lending a subtle toastiness, smooth and rounded in the mouth whilst still light and fresh.
Both wines are widely available in good supermarkets and wine shops – €9.95 and €19.95 respectively at Apolónia.