The most refreshing thing you’ll drink this week?
Raza Vinho Verde 2011, Basto
Classic Vinho Verde: light as a feather, crisply refreshing with green apple and lime flavors lifted by just a kiss of effervescence and just 11% ABV so you can pound it with relative impunity. Got Mariscos?
Quinto do Conde, Quinta da Boavista, Estremadura
This winery is situated in Alenquer, approximately 45 km north of Lisbon, in a very traditional wine region where the typical Portuguese rural landscape can be seen in all its glory. The estate has been family owned for several generations with wine being the principal product but also some fruit orchards. As it has grown, the company has added brands and, especially, grape varieties. They bottle over 25 types of Portuguese grapes as varietals as well as in intriguing blends (including WINE EXPO-ista cult hit Estacas). Like our many friends in Puglia and Sicilia, they are quite dedicated to value for money and have won many awards for Best Buy in wine fairs all over the world.
The vineyards are located on rolling hillsides at between 110 and 220 meters elevation with excellent sun and a climate moderating wind off the Atlantic, less than 25 km away. The soil is clay mixed with Jurassic limestone and is rich in fossils of marine life and even the occasional dinosaur. Sustainable agriculture is very important to the family and they employ many practices to prevent soil erosion and other environmental problems.
Quinto do Conde Fernão Pires Quinta Vista 2010, Estremadura
We predict big things for this variety: If you start with Verdelho or Albariño but kick it up a notch (and with a couple of “Bam!”s while you are at it) you will get an idea of the personality of this variety. It blows citrus and white flowers out of your glass then follows through with a rich melony mouthful of flavor but all of that is solidly supported by great, food friendly minerallity. Plus, it’s outrageously well priced. If this wine could talk the first words out of its mouth would be “Spicy Shrimp please!”….
Monte Branco Alento Branco 2010, Alentejo Sold out! New Vintage Soon
Enologist Luís Louro did stages in California and at the traditional Quinta do Mouro estate in Estremoz, Portugal before striking out on his own with 25 hectares of leased vineyards filled with old vines of local favorites Roupeiro (40%), Fernão Pires (40%) and Bical (20%) which he personally tends. The wines are made at a new winery following his designs to minimize damage to the fruit or oxidation of the wines. His goal is to produce a versatile, convivial wine with good value for money and he is hitting it out of the park with this: the Alento has flavors of fresh cut pear and quince and a dry, crisp and nearly weightless finish.