Vinho Verde wines from Portugal
Portugal has been talked of as being the Next Big Thing for some time now - a small country re-inventing its wine industry, a couple of years ago, I'd heard the buzz, but had tried very few of the wines themselves as with over 600 native varieties, it is hard to generalise about Portugal.
And so to these two Vinho Verde examples, literally "green wine" and meaning young wines from the north of the country designed as sippers for early drinking.
One is a spritzy, entry-level sipper, the other more complex, sophisticated and food-friendly.
Arca Nova Branco Vinho Verde, 2011
Bright yellow in the glass with a light spritz, it is mineral on the nose.
Made from a blend of native grapes Loureiro, Arinto and Trajadura, it is light, fresh and lemony with ripe pineapple; mouthwateringly, moreishly sweet-sour on the palate with a touch of grapefruit or quinine bitterness.
Elegant, balanced and well-made, it is a lovely light sipper either for the garden, an aperitif or with light seafood dishes.
Available from The Sampler, £7.90
Soalheiro Vinho Verde, 2011
From 100% Alvarinho, it is intensely complex, mineral and herbaceous on the nose.
The palate is mouthwateringly lemony and sweet-sour; there is ripe peachy stone fruit, great depth of flavour, length and complexity and a minerally finish.
This is refreshing enough to drink alone, but will also match with food, such as meaty fish, creamy pasta and white meat. A versatile wine, it has the body to stand up to strong, restaurant-style flavours.
Priced from £15.95 at Butlers Wine Cellar, Uncorked and Fortnum & Mason (2010 only).
Both wines provided for review
Other related articles
The Cambridge Tasting - Vinho Verde
Vinho Verde - http://www.vinhoverde.pt/en/