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Vinho Verde Tasting Notes

text and photographs © 2010 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on The Wines of Vinho Verde. See all UK stockists of Afros wines on Imported by Les Caves de Pyrene.


Afros, Vinho Verde Espumante Loureiro Reserva 2007
A traditional method sparkling wine, part of the base wine aged in older oak barrels. 100% Loureiro. Pale golden colour and very nice small bubbles. Quite a nettle and herbal nose, a touch of vanilla and lots of citrus. Beautiful palate, the Loureiro flavours coming through powerfully, a touch of the waxiness and the bold apple fruit. The bold, fresh mousse ripples across the tongue and lots of structural acidity and just a broadening base of toast and that waxy, ripe pear fruit. 90/100.

Afros, Vinho Verde Branco Loureiro 2009
Beautifully smoky, slightly mineral quality, with that ripe, pure lemon zest and bold pear-skin fruit. There's a hint of leafy green herbs, but really focused on the bold lemon fruit and that mineral edge. The palate has a delightful, very natural and unforced concentration. Delightful wine, with a little talcum edge but beautiful fruit, just a touch of residual sugar but that beautifully delineated finish. 92/100.

Afros, Vinho Verde Tinto Vinhão 2009
Fermented in the lagar with foot-treading. Then to tanks with lees ageing, no malolactic, and allowed to ferment out very slowly, perhaps through into the new year. Served cold, this deep crimson/black wine has beautiful aromatics with black cherries, red liquorice and a certain caraway seed spice. Lovely, tight, beautifully focused flavours. The tight black fruit has beautiful gloss and refinement on the palate too, with fantastic, savoury depth, a little meatiness and that firm, granite-like backbone of structure, but the finish very soft, a certain creaminess through the lees ageing and that beautiful kirsch-like freshness. 93/100.

Afros, Vinho Verde Espumante Vinhão Reserva 2006
Lovely nose on this traditional method, sparkling red wine. Berry fruit is deep and rich with a more bloody, meaty, gamy depth than the still Vinhão. Quite a complex nose, little floral rose-hip nuances and lovely more of that bright cherry fruit and a touch of chocolate. On the palate the tannins are big, deep and meaty making this delightfully chewy, with the depth of cherry and chocolate, hinting at deep raisin flavours, is delicious. The acidity is perfect, but the support of those tannins and the creamy mousse adds lots of depth, breadth and substance. 91/100.

Secret Spot Moscatel do Douro
Secret Spot are all single vineyard wines, but will come from different vineyards each year "depending on where I source interesting things," according to winemaker Rui Cunha. 1 This was assembled by Rui from old parcels of wine he found around the Douro, between 20-year-old wines in concrete and 100-year-old casks, that small growers were selling at the farm door. Dark, treacly brown colour riven with walnut husks and raisins, lovely leaf tea notes. The palate has a glycerine richness and delightful depth of flavour. Cherry flavours and real fruit sweetness. Fabulous, toffeed richness. 93/100.

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