The 19th century writer Eça de Queiroz is, of course, Portugal’s most famous storyteller of all time.
And so it was, when I received a bottle of wine for tasting from winemakers Lima Smith with an image of the great man on the label, I had no idea of what to expect.
Lima Smith own the Covela winery which, although technically in the Vinho Verde region, usually produces wines that identify with the Douro, and indeed the winery is located on the north back of the river, just 5km from the Eça de Queiroz foundation. On vineyards surrounding the house, Avesso and Arinto grapes have been grown for many years and Tormes Vinho Verde, with a similar label, has also existed for some time but produced elsewhere.
The name Tormes is actually the name of a town in Spain but was used by Eça de Queiroz in his last book A Cidade e as Serras as the name of a then-fictional village in Northern Portugal. The name stuck and today the local village and the area surrounding the house is called Tormes.
To bring the story up to date as far as the wine is concerned, the Covela winery was approached by the foundation a few years ago and asked to produce the wine, and they seized the opportunity of increasing the quality and adding a true Vinho Verde to the Lima Smith portfolio.
The wine is quite different when compared to most traditional-style white Vinho Verde and the recommended retail price of €5.50 (Garrafeira Soares) makes it a great value for money, light and easy-drinking summer wine.
Yes, it does have that typical light fizz leaving us in no doubt that we are drinking Vinho Verde, but there is an elegance and purity of fruit that sets it apart.
On the nose, it is young and fresh with tropical fruit, floral and citric notes, vibrant but well balanced in the mouth with a fruity finish. Serve well chilled or, if drinking by the pool on a hot day or as an aperitif, try serving over ice.