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Received a batch of Portuguese wines the other day; unsolicited direct from the producer. In the accompanying notes there is a mention of a white made from Siria; now that IS interesting. A new grape variety… sadly they have doubled up a red in the samples and I will have to miss out on sampling a Sira.

First to pass the scribblers lips though were two Vinho Verde. Not a wine style I would purposely purchase, if only for the reason that those sampled in the past would strip several layers off the tongue with their rasping acidity and lemon-tart flavours. Not a fan.

Wine Tasting Note: Afros Loureiro Vinho Verde, 2004, Portugal.
No details of price or stockist.
Pale but vibrantly bright colour, faint lemon aroma with a wheaty undertone. Medium bodied, crisp acidity. Not hugely complex but limes, a touch of grapefruit and a green, fresh finish. Dry. Excepting the subdued aroma reminiscent of a Sauvignon or perhaps a Riesling. Loureiro is the grape variety which is usually blended with others rather than appearing as a single varietal.

Scribblings Rating – 88/100

Wine Tasting Note: Afros Escolha Vinho Verde, 2004, Portugal.
No details of price or stockist.
Unsure if Escolha is another new grape variety or the name of the wine. I have a feeling that it is Loureiro given a little oak treatment. Either way the wine is deeper in hue than the Loureiro above. An interesting aroma something like an unripe papaya or guava. A little fuller in body but still with a lime and grapefruit edge to that unripe fruit. Maybe it’s more wet sandy stones… Crisp acidity and reasonably good length. Dry.

Scribblings Rating – 90/100

Vinho Verde as a wine region occupies the very north western area of Portugal abutting Spanish Galacia further north. It has a damp, maritime climate. As well as the ‘green’ wine the cuisine is also green – spindly cabbages and caldo verde or green broth (potato and cabbage soup) for example. Fish, perhaps the classic accompaniment to a glass of Vinho Verde, is also widespread especially locally caught fresh water trout and salmon. A prawn risotto using Japanese Miso soup as a stock base was my choice; a more herby Mediterranean rendition might have worked better but it was an edible match…

2 Comments »

  1. Carlos Serafim says:

    I think Escolha just means that the grapes were picked and sorted especially for this wine. In other words-the best grapes went in to it. the lesser grapes would wind up in the cheaper bottle. Almost like using the word reserva.
    Carlos Serafim

  2. Andrew says:

    That makes more sense; it was certainly evident that it was a better wine but it never occured to me to think ‘reserve'; I was edging towards a single vineyard or something.

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