Bottled Sunshine – the fun side of Vinho Verde

I don’t know whether I had my mind closed to it for the last 26 years, but suddenly I cannot get enough Vinho Verde, or wines from the Minho region of Portugal anyway.

The area has long been famous for producing light-bodied and light-hearted wines that are refreshing and lively. This traditional style can be very enjoyable even at the commercial end of the market, but in recent years I have tried some really serious wines from the Minho as well – rich, concentrated and complex, like the wonderful Quinta de Covela or the great Quinta do Feital.

Well, recently I tasted something completely new to me – a rosé Vinho Verde. Which sounds an odd concept until you realise that the verde or green in the name does not refer to the colour, but rather the youthful character of the wine.

I was looking for a palate cleanser and boy did I get one – this was the perfect start to a days tasting:

Arca Nova Vinho Verde Rosé 2009
Quinta das Arcas, D.O.C. Vinho Verde

100% Espadeiro grapes which I understand to be the same as the Port grape Tinta Amarella.

The colour was great, a bright, fresh cherry and strawberry juice hue that was most appetising.
The aromas were just the same – fresh strawberry and cherry.
The palate delivered just off-dry gluggy strawberry juice characters with a real freshness enhanced by the slight spritz and balanced by the clean, crisp acidity – which is what is lacking in so many commercial rosés at the moment.

There was nothing complex about this wine, but it delivered happiness by the glassful – I have tasted no better summer rosé that I can remember.

At just 11.5% alcohol this is perfect terrace drinking on its own as an aperitif, or it would be lovely with any light food, like a salad meal and I think it would be terrific with spicy and Asian food as well.

It really is a pretty wine whose freshness and zing could only be improved by one thing – a screw-cap, but I suppose that is a big thing to ask of a Portuguese wine producer!

88/100 points, but remember what it lacks in finesse it more than makes up for in the pleasure it provides.

I also enjoyed the same producers white Vinho Verdes:

Arca Nova Vinho Verde Loureiro-Arinto 2009
Quinta das Arcas, D.O.C. Vinho Verde

This blend of Loureiro and Arinto was very attractive, fresh and zesty with a leafy, herbal quality leading to an appley and mineral finish.

87/100 points

Arca Nova Vinho Verde Alvarinho-Trajadura 2009
Quinta das Arcas, D.O.C. Vinho Verde

This blend of Alvarinho and Trajadura was a bit fatter and more dense with more herbal notes and a richer texture – a slightly more serious take on the style.

87/100 points

All these wines are available at around £7.50 from Casa Leal and Wine Divine.

One thought on “Bottled Sunshine – the fun side of Vinho Verde

  1. Pingback: Ribeiro – more excitement from Galicia « Quentin Sadler's Wine Page

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