Posts Tagged : Vinho Verde

Quintas de Caiz, on the hillside of river Tâmega

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

Quintas de Caiz is a very recent project in the Portuguese wine panorama and it’s in the middle of the Vinho Verde region. A fruit of the passion that the Freitas have for the earth as well as the desire to create something unique that would also be a good product of that region, and specifically the hillsides through which river Tâmega slithers. The three wines by Encostas de Caiz in this tasting were all from 2014 – the same first harvest that was put on the market.

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Quintas de Caiz Vineyard – Photo Provided by Quintas de Caiz | All Rights Reserved

Restless wines, still nervous from having been recently bottled; not long before they came into my hands. Again, I repeat, the wines from this region generally benefit from one or two years in the bottle; more than enough time to set their anxhiety aside when they appear to be free from the shakes or memory loss. Just a whiff of fresh air and everything was back to normal, making the tasting quite reassuring of the quality of these new Encostas de Caiz.

The first wine to be tasted was Encostas de Caiz Grande Escolha 2014 of a lot composed of Alvarinho and Loureiro. It spoke the least out of them all, given that Loureiro was completely dominated by Alvarinho, and the blend needs time seeing as everything is still very tense and in a tuning stage. Nonetheless, it appears wrapped in freshness, with enough strength to unwrap by itself during the next couple of years. Encostas de Caiz Grande Escolha Alvarinho 2014 was better, although it did also reveal a need to age in the bottle a little longer. Very fresh and sharp in aromas and flavours, quite a tight blend, tense, seamlessly tropical, dominated by very ripe fruits from the orchard wrapped in freshness with hints of flowers and the mineral austerity dominating in the background.

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Encostas de Caiz trio – Photo Provided by Quintas de Caiz | All Rights Reserved

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Sardines – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

For the end, the one I liked best, the most pleasing and quickest to disappear out of the bottles, Encostas de Caiz Grande Escolha Avesso 2014. It immediately wins you over with a combo composed of lightly exotic fruit with a touch of pear and citrus fruits joined by a floral aroma. Perfumed and inviting, it reveals a background marked by minerality, a very good ability to revitalise the palate with oriental-style meals, where the seasoning usually rules. In this case, every wine served to accompany beautiful sardines roasted on coal.

Quinta de Santiago

Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne

Quinta de Santiago, on the doorstep of Monção, right in the middle of Monção and Melgaço sub-region, the first-choice land for Alvarinho wine.

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Quinta de Santiago – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

This very ancient property has been in the same family for several generations, and it’s also where Alvarinho grapes have been growing. The present owners’ daughter, who makes a living as a lawyer, is responsible for producing and distributing the farm wines, a passion that arose unexpectedly, albeit with a very peculiar explanation. Joana and her brother used to spend their holidays apart; he would stay with one pair of grandparents while she would stay at their grandparents who lived in Monção, that is, in Quinta de Santiago.

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Alvarinho Vines – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Quinta de Santiago – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

And that’s when her love for the land started; she learnt how to recognize the aromas, to pick fruit and vegetables and, when time came, she watched the harvest, and the grapes being crushed, at the same time helping around and getting everything ready for the new wine to be well prepared.

The bond with her grandmother grew stronger. At the time, her grandmother used to sell the wine to local coffee shops and grocer’s, keeping a small amount for their own consumption.

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Quinta de Santiago – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

When new rules and regulations were passed, her grandmother started selling the grapes, putting a certain amount to the side in order to produce her own wine. Although it was Joana’s father’s dream to produce wine for the market, it was her grandmother who, at the age of 86, challenged her son and granddaughter to work together to plan a project for the production of her wine. They both took her advice and that’s how, in 2009, the project of Quinta de Santiago came forward. Their first wine turned up in 2011.

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Quinta de Santiago – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Quinta de Santiago Wine Cellar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Nowadays, Joana Santiago lives with her husband in Ovar and splits up her daily life between her job as a lawyer and her job as a producer of wine in Monção, where she recently opened up her new cellar, sketched and built by her husband in record time.

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Quinta de Santiago Wine Cellar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Quinta de Santiago Wine Cellar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

 Modern, very practical and well equipped, this cellar is Joana’s new addiction and she spends as much time as she can there, following every step related to the production of her two wines: Alvarinho and Reserva.

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Quinta de Santiago Old Wine Cellar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Quinta de Santiago Wine Cellar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

However, she reserves the old cellar underneath the old living quarters for wine tastings and group meals. Fairs, festivals and competitions are all part of her present life, some all over Portugal and even abroad where her wine, filling 15,000 bottles a year, has been well praised.

Nowadays, her wines are a big hit, highly appreciated, besides constituting an actual business, which Joana proves to be the leader of, and the person responsible for this life-project.

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Quinta de Santiago Alvarinho 2013 in quintadesantiagoalvarinho.blogspot.pt

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Quinta de Santiago Reserva Segredo da Avó 2013 in quintadesantiagoalvarinho.blogspot.pt

Quinta de Santiago Alvarinho 2013 is a typical Alvarinho, showing lots of minerality, loads of tropical fruit (a quality of these wines), citrus, peach, passion fruit, and tonnes of mountain flowers. On the mouth it maintains the intense flavour of the white fruit; it shows freshness and excellent acidity, beautiful volume and it always has the characteristic minerality. All this makes this Alvarinho a very elegant wine.

Quinta de Santiago Reserva Segredo da Avó (“Grandma’s secret”) 2013, is a serious wine, full of complexity on the nose, still revealing some exotic white fruit, soft smoky notes, slightly toasted, confirming that it was aged in casks. On the mouth, it shows structure, it’s full and elegant at the same time, persistent, fresh, with lively acidity, still revealing ripe fruit and light notes of spices, and always that delicious minerality in a very gastronomic wine.

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Joana Santiago – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

These are Joana Santiago’s “boys”, a self-confessed “Alvarinho lover”…

Contacts
Quinta de Santiago
Rua D. Fernando, 128, Cortes – Monção
4950-542 Mazedo
Tel: (+351) 917557883
E-mail: wine@quintadesantiago.pt
Website: quintadesantiagoalvarinho.blogspot.pt

Vinho Verde Wine Fest… A party like no other!

Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne

This year was the second edition of a festival that is here to stay. A few changes have been made since the first one happened in 2014, and the festival was moved to the outter East wing in Alfândega do Porto, thus gaining twice the space as well as a car park for exhibitors. This makes for more and wider eating areas, and an additional central square with a lot of tables and chairs.

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Douro river – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Besides the ever present Douro river, a landmark in a unique landscape, the weather also helped, even in the evenings, with very mild temperatures extending the enjoyable conversation while holding a glass of vinho verde.

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30 Producers – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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More than 200 wines – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

We had four very intense days with the 30 producers offering tastings of more than 200 wines; at the cocktail counter, they prepared very interesting suggestions, for example a cocktail mixing a verde red of the Vinhão variety, which turned out to be amazing.

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4 Intense Days- Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Cocktail Bar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

No wonder the queue was sometimes huge!! On top of it all, the five restaurants and the four small taverns there produced enough to cover every order, from sushi to suckling pig sandwiches, including traditional delicacies, original food, pregos (steak in a bun or on a plate), hamburgers and bifanas (pork-steak sandwich), presunto (Portuguese prosciutto), and even pão de ló (sponge cake). In the meantime, as soon as the doors opened, the commented tastings began. They were split into two rooms, always full, given the ever higher interest of a better and better informed audience. In fact, they also have the chance to try a few new things, presented and commented on by the oenologists themselves, which enables direct dialogues with the wine makers, who always have a lot to say.

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Luís Lopes – Photo Provided by Vinho Verde | All Rights Reserved

Some tastings were commented by journalists specialised in this sector; this time, we were graced by the presence of two prestigious journalists from Revista de Vinhos: Nuno Garcia and the editor himself, Luís Lopes. On the other side of the exhibition site was a room where only cooking shows took place. They had as many as 20 shows in four days! I had the privilege of attending them all, and for each I suggested two wines which would harmonise with whatever the chefs produced.

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Emília Jackson – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Something special happened here on the first day: the presence of Emilia Jackson, the celebrated chef who finished third in Masterchef Australia. She is a friendly Australian living in London, and was assisted by the lovely Joana, who also came in third, although in Masterchef Portugal. Of course the entire audience was there, and complained to the organisation about the lack of seats.

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Party Mood – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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RFM – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

To create an excellent environment, they played a very well-chosen selection of music, which was turned up in the evening to get our glasses twirling and a real party mood going, because that’s exactly what it was, the vinho verde party. RFM (Portuguese radio station) was always there, interviewing and giving out information, mostly live, and also getting many more people to the festival.

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People of all ages were there – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

People of all ages were there, but it was mostly interesting to see young people enjoy a lot of vinho verde, munching on nibbles and mostly having fun and bringing a touch of healthy youth to the festival.

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Big and young team – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Also young was the big team producing the event, from Offe company; they were tireless, and brought skills and knowledge to the place, which makes all the difference. On Saturday, the longest day of the festival, it was already 3.30 am when the last visitors left the site…

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The car park was “invaded” by 120 old cars – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

On the last day, Sunday, the car park was “invaded” by 120 old cars, creating a beautiful environment, which also attracted a lot of people. Doors closed at 8.00pm, but it was almost 10.00 when the party actually ended! I would like to congratulate Comissão dos Vinhos Verdes, their president, and the entire team of professionals who were there all the time, playing their part in the event.

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The promise of next year’s edition was broadly advertised – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The promise of next year’s edition was broadly advertised.

Vinho Verde Wine Fest 2015 was just so, a great party for vinho verde…

Vale dos Ares is a Consensual Alvarinho

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

I went back to my origins, to the land where I was born (Vila Viçosa), and this is where I have been spending the last few days, enjoying a sort of mini-holiday. I have used this time to rendez-vous with and revisit old friends, as well as to once again see my hometown I missed so much. Therefore, it’s expected, and also natural, that the best of these moments take place at the table, where besides cuisine, we also share wine and a good mood.

At the meal I attended last evening, many were the wines that joined us at the table. It was curious to see that with almost all of these wines, as they were served, they were welcomed with the most varied comments. Here, as anywhere else, there is a moment when you only drink and chat, when the wine in question seems to be forgotten, even mistakenly, and misses the discussion shared between those present. That wine suits the taste of all those present, in a generalised consensus; it pleased them so much, nobody even mentioned it. We usually say “he who doesn’t speak agrees”, hence the silence.

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Vale dos Ares Alvarinho 2014 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

One of those wines was Vale dos Ares Alvarinho 2014, from the region of Vinho Verde, produced by Miguel Queimado (MQ Vinhos) and oenology by Gabriela Albuquerque. This Alvarinho is not easily tempted; it does not exceed in exoticism, nor does it lack assertiveness; it lives somewhere in-between. But living in-between doesn’t mean it lacks character; not at all. It’s elegant, knows what it wants, proves serious and convincing, wrapped in a beautiful fresh fragrance. Elegant and harmonious, refreshing and inviting, it improves after some time in the glass, making a refreshing mouth tasting marked by the fruit, balance and steady structure, although flexible, because the wine seems to mould to our palate, much due to the bâtonnage it underwent. Nothing to add, of course, except for what somebody at the table said: Is there any more of this one?

Contacts
MQ Vinhos, Unipessoal Lda
Quinta do Mato, sn, Lugar do Mato
4950-740 Sá-MNC
Tel: (+351) 251 531 775
Telemóvel: (+351) 934 459 171
Email: info@mqvinhos.pt
Site: mqvinhos

Afectus, by Quinta de Curvos

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

This farm holds more than four centuries of history, going back to the 1600s. Many fables and stories tell of its birth, many of which told by its own surroundings – from the old palace to the caves, including the lake, gardens and vineyards. It amounts up to about 40 acres in total. The walls around the farm refreshed its soul in 1976, when it was acquired by the current owners. To the day, it remains a 100% family business, and is already in the second generation, ensuring the project’s continuity.

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Quinta de Curvos – Photo by M&A Creative | All Rights Reserved

The vineyards are already following fair trade guidelines, and spread out over 66 acres across four pieces of land in Forjães, Ponte de Lima and Barcelos. The Atlantic and the granite-rich grounds brand the wine’s profile. We were able to confirm this when tasting three samples of the Afectus range. This range of wines has been inspired by the affection and passion for the land, and its labels’ image represents the century-old camellias in Quinta de Curvos.

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Afectus Loureiro 2014 – Photo by M&A Creative | All Rights Reserved

Afectus Loureiro 2014 (Vinho Verde) caused the least impact out of the three wines. It was refreshing and stood out for the fruit (red apple and red peach), and although not too exuberant, it combines aromas of linden flower, bay leaf and flint in the background. With a well-balanced acidity in the tasting, the fruit displayed good presence in an average finish.

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Afectus Alvarinho 2014 – Photo by M&A Creative | All Rights Reserved

Although the other two wines are Vinho Verde, Afectus Alvarinho 2014 reminds you of a Regional Minho. More austere than the former, its aromas are more outlined and have stronger presence, and the freshness imposes its notes of lychee, peach, lemon and lemon balm. Somewhat closed, it implies that more bottled time would only benefit. In the mouth, the fruit has good presence, the lychee highlighted on a par with a very ripe and juicy peach; the background is refreshing and flavourful with a very faint mineral austerity.

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Afectus Rosé 2014 – Photo by M&A Creative | All Rights Reserved

This Rosé was a joyful and refreshing surprise that poured into my glass; to it belong the region’s characteristic varieties: Vinhão and Espadeiro. The wine pulls you in with its freshness; with the way the plump and juicy fruit (strawberry and cherry) pours flavour while the background proves dry and mineral. All of the above appears wrapped in a thin layer of smoke, in a wine that has all it takes to shine in the nearing heat peak. By the way, try it with grilled meat: the result is amazing!

Fish + White Wine = Portugal

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

Portugal is currently the country with the greatest annual intake of fish per person in the European Union, and the third in the world after Iceland and Japan. In fact, Portugal can brag about having the best fish in the world swim in its waters; this fact is acknowledged by some of the best Chefs de Cuisine all over the world. Everybody knows that noble examples of our fish are flown out to restaurants worldwide. As far as consumption goes, one must eat consciously and, thus, sustainably, which is the only way to keep a balanced maritime food chain.

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Mar de Portugal – Photo by Ciência Viva | All Rights Reserved

Ciência Viva has published a catalogue titled “The most popular species in the Portuguese Sea”, where they present the main species of fish of greater economical interest, which make their way from the Portuguese sea to our table. In total, twenty species of fish were selected, three types of cephalopod, three bivalve and three crustacean. For each species presented, their main morphological features, such as habitat, etc. For all of those interested, the catalogue is available here for free.

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Fish from the Portuguese Sea – Photo by Ciência Viva | All Rights Reserved

Well, if the Portuguese call the shots when it comes to fish, in white wine we are starting a buzz. Besides, these days Portugal undoubtedly offers the best whites around – whether in profile or in quality – to accompany fish at the table. Mankind thinks with the stomach; a fact that relates regional cuisine to the wine produced in the same area. Just think about it: the best combinations are cuisine plus wine of a specific region. Regarding white wine, the leap in quality that Portugal has seen in the last two decades has made all of this possible. Furthermore, these days, there must be no better pair for our fish than our wine, Portuguese Wine.

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Allo 2014 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

One example is Allo 2014, created in Quinta de Soalheiro (Vinho Verde), and the product of the plot of land between Alvarinho and Loureiro. While the Alvarinho variety gives it the structure and vigour, the Loureiro variety contributes with all its exuberance. This results in an addictive wine with only 11% alcohol, but if you relax, the next thing you know is the bottle is empty. It is a proper terrace wine, with a scent of summer, suggesting seafood or, as we had, oven-roasted Red Snappers, combined with all the freshness of aromas and flavours, and an invigorating acidity that will cleanse your palate completely as well as make you take another sip. For more on Quinta de Solheiro and its wines see here.

Contacts
Ciência Viva – Agência Nacional para a Cultura Científica e Tecnológica
Parque das Nações, Alameda dos Oceanos Lote 2.10.01, 1990-223 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel: (+351) 21 898 50 20 / 21 891 71 00
Fax: (+351) 21 898 50 55 / 21 891 71 71
Website: www.cienciaviva.pt

Quinta de Soalheiro
Alvaredo . Melgaço
4960-010 Alvaredo
Tel: (+351) 251 416 769
Fax: (+351) 251 416 771
Email: quinta@soalheiro.com
Website: www.soalheiro.com

Quinta de Covela – the new wines of 2014

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

On the 22nd April, Quinta de Covela came to Lisbon to present their wines harvested in 2014. The tasting of the single-species and the Quinta da Covela rosé was held in one of Lisbon’s icons in cuisine, Cervejaria Ramiro. Following an introduction by viticulturer Gonçalo Sousa Lopes and oenologist Rui Cunha, we were guided by the entire team. 2014 was a very good year; it rained at the right time, alternating with heat, which slowed the ageing of the grapes down and, I dare say, perfectly. The result is out: refreshing wines of very defined, crystal clear scents and flavours, and a natural inclination to be served with food. Demand for these wines is on the rise, while its current production is still low, given the necessary replantation because of the bad state in which about 40% of the vineyard was found.

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Covela’s Team – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

First of all, there was a mano a mano between the Covela Avesso Edição Nacional, of the 2013 harvest (magnum bottle) and that of 2014. The difference was a more serious and cohesive Avesso 2013, much fatter fruit (citrus and apple) with undefined aroma, of a slightly austere combination in the mouth and a dry aftertaste.

Covela Edição Nacional Avesso 2014 shone with very pure, almost crystal-clear aromas, a very floral and perfumed touch, the fruit in the spotlight; very refreshing and charismatic, and somewhat mineral in the background. This cohesive combination is full of life, has a lively mouth and a very tasty, dry aftertaste, which goes well with food, which was to be served next: the wine proved quite graceful together with Amêijoas À Bulhão Pato (Bulhão Pato-style clams).

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Covela Edição Nacional Avesso 2014 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

The next wine reveals an Arinto-like tone; very austere and energetic, this new Covela Arinto Edição Nacional 2014. It is very refreshing within such a new combination. The base is citrusy with some floral, although the whole mix still needs some more time. For now, the mineral tone in the background is the most enhanced feature thanks to the energy it creates in the mouth. This white has a good athletic build, while being quite less playful with aromas than Avesso. In this case, perhaps more substantial meals are in order, as was proven with Gambas al Ajillo (Ajillo-style prawns).

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Covela Edição Nacional Arinto 2014 e Covela Rosé 2014 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Another new product is Covela Rosé 2014, made from Touriga Nacional, which is prematurely harvested especially to make this wine. A successful case and one of the best rosés made in Portugal, its winning features being youth, freshness and gentleness; very detailed scents and flavours, a delicate floral with that remarkable freshness. A balanced fruit-acidity palate and a pleasant presence, maintaining that dry aftertaste in the mouth, which revives the palate and makes for great potential in cuisine.

Contacts
LIMA SMITH Lda.
Quinta de Covela,
S. Tomé de Covelas
4640-211 BAIÃO
Tel: (+351) 254 886 298
E-mail: info@covela.pt
Website: www.covela.pt

João Portugal Ramos Loureiro 2013, the inexpensive pleasures of Vinho Verde

Text João Pedro de Carvalho

The adventure of João Portugal Ramos in the wine world began in 1980. Having had vineyards in Dão, Lisboa and Setúbal, today his presence is now limited to the regions of Alentejo, Tejo, Beiras and Douro.

The international channels of distribution asked him for a Vinho Verde, and that was what he did launching in 2010 his first wine from that region, the Lima Loureiro exclusively for the American market.

Having consolidated the project based in Monção, an investment of approximately 1 million Euros, he successfully launched in the harvest of 2012, the João Portugal Ramos Alvarinho (Portugal, UK and USA).

joao-portugal-ramos-loureiro-the-inexpensive-pleasures-of-vinho-verde João Portugal Ramos Loureiro 2013, the inexpensive pleasures of Vinho Verde João Portugal Ramos Loureiro 2013, the inexpensive pleasures of Vinho Verde joao portugal ramos loureiro the inexpensive pleasures of vinho verde

João Portugal Ramos Loureiro 2013 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Now comes the time to unveil in the Portuguese market and with equal success, the João Portugal Ramos Loureiro 2013 (€ 3,79 RRP). A wine with a very fresh and elegant aroma, citrus fruits, lemongrass and aromatic herbs, combined with a strong minerality. On the palate, it has good acidity and refreshing flavors, with a lasting finish. The Vinho Verde region receives the maritime influence and therefore its wines are a truly welcome symbol of summer, a perfect pair with shellfish, ceviche or to enjoy as an easy-to-drink summer wine.

Contacts
João Portugal Ramos Vinhos S.A.
Vila Santa
7100-149 Estremoz
Portugal
Tel: (+351) 268 339 910
Fax: (+351) 268 339 918
Website: www.jportugalramos.com