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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 Vinho Verde on wine-searcher.com.

AWARD WINNERS 2010

Estreia, Loureiro Lima Grande Escolha 2009
Leesy, waxy, skinny nose, touches of honey, leafiness, lime. The tiny spritz lifts the palate, adding salty notes to the slightly nutty, dry palate. Good. 87/100.

Portal do Fidalgo, Alvarinho 2009
Mealy, gently nutty, with some fleshy depth of fruit - pear and melon, classic Vinho Verde notes. The palate has lots of personality - really punchy, but dry, lemony and leafy and understated. 86/100.

Varanda do Conde, Vinho Verde 2009
Alvarinho and Trajadura. Fresh, breezy, a touch ozoney and salty, with pear skin fruitiness. The palate has lots of richness, and I like the richness and sweet pear fruit. A really nice example of a classic, understated style. 87/100.

Quinta de Simaens, Vinho Verde 2009
Interesting nose with some herbal notes, a touch of leafiness and some smoky quality behind the fruit. The palate has real intensity, quite a full texture, lots of phenolic grip. Grippy and needs food. 88/100.

Quinta da Aveleda, Vinho Verde 2009
Fragrant, pear droppy nose, some waxy lemon. Good fruit - fresh and enjoyably punchy, though not fantastically distinguished. 86/100.

Quinta da Aveleda, Casal Garcia White NV
Tangy, fresh and spritzy, but not distinguished. 85/100.

Casa de Vilacetinho, Vinho Verde 2009
Mealy, slightly custardy notes to this with apple and pear skins coming through. Delightful palate, the textural, mealy quality of the palate matching the nose, with really quite solid, powerful fruit. This has grip, but is not harsh, with pleasing weight despite very crisp, dry, mineral acidity. 88/100.

Casa de Vilacetinho, Colheita Seleccionada Arinto 2009
Sub-region Amarante, with lots of vivid aromatics, floral lift, a hint of spearmint and juicy, bold fruit. The palate has a touch of spritz, with that fresh, sherbetty bite. Very good, fairly simple. 87/100.

Monte Cascas, Minho Branco 2008
Not Vinho Verde. Very nice, fragrant French oak, lots of toast and subtle spice over quite fat, waxy fruit. The palate has a certain sweetness And ripeness, the purity of the fruit pushing through. One to watch. 89/100.

Monte Cascas, Colheita Vinho Verde Branco 2009
Fresh, sherbetty nose, with salty minerality and a certain sweetness on the finish. An interesting and potentially very good wine, but perhaps a little untogether - salty, sweet and phenolic notes. 87/100.

Sousa Lopes, Loureiro e Chardonnay Vinho Regional Minho 2009
Creamy, buttery oak nose, a touch of marzipan, but full, zesty lemon fruit beneath. The palate is fresh and vibrant, that zesty quality and a touch of fresh, punchy herbs coming though. Rounded out with a little vanilla into a long, dazzlingly fresh finish. 89/100.

Quinta da Levada, Vinho Verde Azal 2009
Nicely ripe, elderflower and passionfruit ripeness, Minho meet Marlborough style, with a certain flinty quality and delightfully full, fresh fruit. 89/100.

Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Landim, Camélia Loureiro 2009
Named after the monastery's Camellia gardens. Quiet a lot of that slightly sweaty, passionfruity character, with bright apple fruit. Does that passionfruity quality mask the varietal. Pithy and lemony on the palate with a tight structure, but I like the way the fruit is wrapped around it, with lots of waxy substance. 88/100.

Quinta da Lixa, Colheita Vinho Verde 2009
Very pleasant, lemony fresh. Has a pear drop freshness and some herbal nuances. Slight spritz on palate with lovely tang and punch: lots of ripe nectarine juiciness. 88/100.

Quinta da Lixa, Alvarinho Trajadura White 2009
Slightly more leesy, pear fruited nose with some creaminess and pear skins. On the palate quite grippy, with a big core of minerality, grapefruity flavours and punchy acidity. Long and tangy. 89/100.

Quinta das Arcas, Arca Nova Alvarinho/Trajadura 2009
Nutty, dry, little fragrant notes. Lots of fresh, herby grip and good depth of fruit. Orange and some nutty aromatics, lots of character. Grippy and very delicious. 87/100.

Quinta de Gomariz, Grande Escolha White 2009
Nice nose here with lots of pear fruit that also shows lovely ripeness, a hint of passionfruit and elderflower, almost Sauvignon-like. Very nice palate too, lots of fleshy, sweet, juicy fruit. 89/100.

Quinta de Gomariz, Vinho Verde Loureiro 2009
Quite bright, fresh, pear fruit even hinting at lychee. Some of that talcum powder perfume too. The palate has the spritz to lift and lighten quite punchy, quite Sauvignon-like elderflower fruit. Tangy, with a grapefruity zest. 88/100.

Quinta de Carapeços, Alvarinho/Trajadura 2009
Regional Minho wine. Very fragrant, vibrant, punchy nose, with leafy geranium and green herbs, very ripe pear fruit. Leesy, rich character to the palate too, with a lean, lemon pith and mineral streak, with lovely balance and length. 88/100.

Quinta de Linhares, Colheita Seleccionada 2009
Quite pungent, but not in the full-on Sauvignon style, just a bit of punch and depth to the classic, floral and cucumber-fresh aromas. Nicely, Riesling-like character here, with all the softening, talcum edges but searing, limey freshness too. 90/100.

Quinta de Linhares, Avesso White 2009
Avesso is not the most common grape, but was a favourite at the late, lamented Quinta Covella. Quite mealy and rich, little honeyed nuances, good fruit. The palate is big and bonny, with a fair dollop of residual sugar, but the acidity is lovely. Might be better with a little less sugar, but have it with some scallops or lobster in a buttery sauce… 88/100.

Quinta de Azevedo, Vinho Verde 2009
Tight, citrusy, very fresh with a little minerality. Palate is fresh as a daisy with searing lemon fruit and the spritz just lifting and softening the finish. Really lemony tang. 87/100.

Quinta de Azevedo, Morgadio da Torre Alvarinho 2009
Ripe, rich nose, focused on the fruit, with quite bold, crunchy and leafy fruit. The palate has a big, pithy core of grapefruit and lemon dryness, but hold on to the fleshy richness. 88/100.

Casa do Valle, Vinho Verde 2009
Fairly flat nose, the flavours crisp enough but slightly phenolic. Has a certain tight, mineral appeal, but needs a nudge more fruit. 86/100.

Casa do Valle, Grande Escolha White 2009
Careful selection the best grapes. Talcum and sherbet aromas, with some piercing pear fruit coming through, nicely lifted and herby. The palate has nice presence, a bit of phenolic grip, but maybe peters out slightly in the finish. 87/100,

Miogo, Espumante Bruto Reserva 2007
Green tomato notes, with a subdued, lemony character. Nice enough, but not distinguished. 85/100.

Tapada dos Monges, Alvarinho 2009
Nice lift and orange blossom fragrance, some ozoney freshness. The palate too has a fresh appeal, with decisive minerality and real structure, weighty mid palate and lovely acidity. 89/100.

Quinta De Santa Maria, Alvarinho 2009
Waxy, but a little simple, one-dimensional, some salty bite with freshness to relieve a slightly oily character. 85/100.

Quinta Edmun Do Val, Alvarinho 2008
Orangy spice, some bready notes too, lemon confit lift and lots going on. The palate has a leesy richness, the texture is full and the dry Cox's Pippin fruit is offset by touches of honey and very ripe fruit, the acidity never wavering. 90/100.

Corga da Chã, Vinho Verde Arinto 2009
Quite succulent, orangey fruit notes. A little of that tropical character coming through. The palate has a touch of sweet, ripe, almost tropical fruit and a nice finish. 87/100.

Casa de Paços, Loureiro/Arinto 2009
Partial oak ferment for the Arinto, partial skin contact. Rich nose, quite leesy and full, with vegetal notes and a touch of smokiness. Interesting fruit on the palate, the fleshy, melon and the oak adding a little tannin structure and creaminess. Very delicious, with lots of orangy acidity bright in the finish. 89/100.

Casa de Paços, Fernão Pires 2009
Fairly subdued nose on this very unusual Fernão Pires from the Minho, with a touch of creaminess and pear fruit. The palate has a rich texture but it is dry, with underripe pear, fresh and leesy flavours and good acidity. Long and distinguished. 88/100.

Enoport, Moura Basto Vinho Verde 2009
Only 10% alcohol, quite fragrant but very simple, nice fruit but undistinguished. 83/100.

Casa do Arrabalde, Espinhosos 2009
Avesso/Alvarinho/chardonnay. A touch of buttery character and a Chardonnay dominated nose, with apple fruit and some ripe melon character. Long, quite decisive acidity, with tang and that minerality at the core. 88/100.

Casa do Arrabalde, Vinho Branco 2009
Avesso/Alvarinho/Arinto. Punchy, grippy, fresh fruit, with lots of sweet fruit on the palate. 87/100.

Quinta da Raza, Dom Diogo Alvarinho 2009
VRM. Salty, briny, very attractive and intellectual nose with a solid base of dry pear fruit. On the palate lots of richness and leesy weight, fills the mouth with texture and ripeness, Lovely punch here. 88/100.

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