I’m just back from a weeklong romp through the Vinho Verde wine region in Northern Portugal where some of the most popular Portuguese roses are produced. This crisp wine with a hint of strawberry has a lower alcohol content than most wines, making it very drinkable with a Valentine’s Day dinner or as a refreshing after-dinner drink.
Vinho Verde roses offer a unique option for a romantic dinner or a simple evening in with a bottle of wine. Try pairing it with chicken, shellfish or a bold seafood dish. Vinho Verde roses can also tame the bite of spicy foods and complement the sometimes hard to match exotic flavors in Indian and Thai cuisine. The Quintas das Arcas, Arca Nova Rose 2008 is a great example of the region’s quality roses.
Roses and other pink wines have gotten a bad rap in the United States, largely being stereotyped as sickly sweet, low quality beverages. Wine drinkers will likely be surprised by these Portuguese roses for their dry and crisp flavor with fruity undertones and a hint of spice. This sometimes savory wine is made from indigenous local grapes such as the Alvarelhao, Pedral, Espadeira and Vinhao, and ranges from the slightest pink to nearly red. Portugal’s young and adventurous wine makers are often willing to try new things and the rose trend is no exception. A few years ago, wineries rarely produced this pink wine, but today, roses make up about five percent of the region’s wine production. Adega Cooperative Regional de Monção, one of the largest cooperative producers in the Vinho Verde region, has just launched its first ever rosé.
The Minho wine makers, like many in Portugal’s distinctive and diverse wine regions, are looking to raise the country’s profile in the global wine market and show critics they too can produce top-quality wines on par with Europe’s finest producers. Unlike some wine regions that are dominated by epic estates and giant corporations, the Minho wine grapes are cultivated by many small growers who take great pride in their crops and their craft.
A unique characteristic of Minho is the climate and soil. Located in the northwest corner of Portugal on the border with Spain, the cool and damp climate is largely influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Vines grow on green rolling hills nestled between the Douro and Minho Rivers. The Minho also boasts Portugal’s largest variety of soil types, which create subtle differences in the wines, based on not only the types of grapes used but where they were grown.
Another popular selling point for Vinho Verde wines is the degree of quality you get for the price. Rarely more than $10 a bottle, Vinho Verde roses can be an affordable option for those watching their wallets. Why not plan a romantic dinner at home this Valentine’s Day and cork an Adega Cooperativa De Ponte Da Barca Vinho Verde Rose 2006, which sells for about $7 at online retailers, or the Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Rosé which can be found at around $9. Nice!
For more information on Vinho Verde Wines visit www.vinhoverdewine.com.
✓ I’ll be sharing more about these delightful wines and this little known region of Portugal soon. Stay in the know. Get the latest travel news, tips and reviews from EllenBarone.com. Sign up here. It’s free.
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