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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 Alvarinho Vinho Verde on wine-searcher.com.

THE ALVARINHO ROUTE

Quinta do Feital, Dorado Superior 2008
An unusual Vinho Verde that spends one year in tank with the lees, and almost two years in total before bottling. It is made by Spanish winemaker Marcial Dorado from Galicia, home of Albariño, who crossed the border to make this wine from a 70-year-old vineyard. It is organically farmed, with very low levels of sulphur and only natural yeasts employed in fermentation. Quite deep yellow colour, with powerful, leesy, oxidative nose with lots of stony minerality. This is a Gravner-like, skinny and grippy style, with intense, concentrated apple fruit, lots of structure, bruised apple fruit and a dry, timeless, style with high acidity gripping the finish. Singular and rather marvellous stuff. 93/100. Imported by Indigo Wines.

Quinta do Reguengo de Melgaço, Alvarinho 2009
Nutty, oatmeally, with dry pear and apple skin notes. Very nice fruit - clean and crisp, with lots of mineral and sour apple grip, though not hugely complex. 88/100. Imported by Hallgarten.

Quinta do Louridal, Poema 2008
Aged on lees for one year with battonage, two years in total before release. "We use neutral yeasts to achieve primary fruit aromas - not ferment aromas." Complex, creamy nose with lime and green fruit, gently figgy notes. Palate is rich and complex, with lots of grip and grapefruity punch. Tangy, layered, with lots of flavour and textural complexity. 91/100. Imported by Castas.

Quinta do Regueiro, Alvarinho Reserva 2009
Clean, very fresh aromas with ripe, crisp melon, little glimpses of juicy peach or nectarine, but pretty and focused. The palate has delightfully crisp character, the fruit very clean: concentration without too much extraction, and though there's a phenolic grip, it is refined and subtle and the fruit focus never blurs. 89/100.

Quinta da Pigarra, Alvarinho 2009
Produced from vineyards near the River Minho, with bold, apple and orange zest fruit, with a very dry palate, the minerality and lean, lemony acidity scything through the quite tropical fruit character. Delicious and well balanced. 88/00.

Portal do Fidalgo, Alvarinho de Monção, Lda 2009
Crisp, ripe, bright apple notes with a little pithy lemon and lime fruit. Very sharp and crisp on the palate but has fine weight too with waxiness and a Riesling-like intensity. 88/100.

Vinha Antiga, Alvarinho de Monção Escolha 2008
Six months in French oak, new and one year old, fruit selected from nine of their producers with old vineyards (25-50 years old). Only 6000 bottles. Gently oatmeally and nutty on the nose, with Cox's pippin and a certain creaminess. Rich, deep, textural palate, the bite of the grippy, pear-skin fruit and a the ripe melony fruit set against a really strong core of minerality with good length. 90/100.

Quinta de Serrade, Alvarinho 2009
After planting in 1981 and selling to a cooperative for many years, has been bottled on the estate since 1997. Fresh, appealing, quite tropical melon and melon skin nose with a touch of apple and bruised apple fruit too and tiny floral hints. The palate has some straw and some nuttiness, with a tang of orange. Lovely, concentrated yet commercial stuff. 88/100.

Fontainha de Melgaço, VV 2009
Subtle, salty, quite sulphury, with a pleasant but unexceptional palate. 86/00.

Quinta de Soalheiro, Alvarinho 2009
Lovely nose, with lots of richness and bold pear and ripe, iced melon fruit - the palate has lots of fresh, bold fruit too - model stuff with clarity and precision and a real tang of concentration in the finish. 89/100.

Quinta de Soalheiro, Alvarinho Primeiras Vinhas 2009
30-year-old vines. Leafy, complex, very attractive nose with complex leafy green herb and wax aromas. The palate has glorious clarity, with very good intensity of fruit, staying pin-sharp and focused, with pear and apple skin grip and that acidity and refined fruit pushing through to a long finish. 92/100.

Castaboa Alvarinho, VV 2009
Leesy, grippy pear fruit, with lots of leesy, yeasty character and boldness. A big, powerful wine with lots of ripeness and fruit sweetness. Powerful and fruity stuff. 88/100.

Quinta de Melgaço, Castrus 2009
A small proportion of this sees barrel fermentation. Very rich, ripe, slightly more buttery quality, notes of buttered cabbage and quite exotic fruit, but all with a fine, nervy twist of dill-like herbs and minerals. The palate has a slightly oxidised, bruised fruit quality, very Chenin-like with lots of layered personality and a big, dry, phenolic but balanced finish. Only 500 cases. 92/100. Imported by Ince wines.

Adega de Monção, Deu-La-Deu Estagiado 2009
Alvarinho, at 13% alcohol fermented in steel, then into barrels for three or four months with battonage. Released after two years in full. 5000 bottles from a Coop with 800 hectares of vines. Very creamy, orange and vanilla nose, with complex fig and quince notes and butter. The palate has a very sweet, rich texture with a lot of oak showing through, perhaps just too much although the fruit is intense and the acidity is good. Tangy and rich. 89/00. Imported by Clarke Foyster.

Quinta de Melgaço, Vinho Verde Alvarinho Q.M. 2009
Two months battonage in stainless steel. Tight, apple and yellow plum nose with some refined green notes. Big sour apple and pear palate, with lots of leesy, waxy texture and a decisive mineral acidity and a certain spiciness too. Impressive. 89/100. Imported by Ince wines.

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