This crowd-pleasing bottle departs from Vinho Verde's ubiquity with deep minerality and the freshest citrus fruit around.
Producer: Quinta do Ameal
Region: Minho, Vinho Verde, Portugal
Grapes: 100% Loureiro
Body: Light Body
Flavors: Lemon Pith, Lime Zest, Gravel Minerality
Pairings: Fresh Salads, Roast Salmon
With ripe citrus skin, lemon blossom, and green grass on the nose, this wine is like standing in a lemon grove on a warm afternoon. The palate is fresh and crisp, but there’s a mineral density present that gives serious structure to this otherwise fun-loving wine. The finish is long, clean, and leaves a lingering citrus oil delicacy on the palate.
“Anything you’d want to squeeze a lemon on, you want to drink this with,” Battles said. Try it with a dinner of fresh summer salad and goat cheese, roast salmon, or asparagus.
Vinho Verde is both a region in Northern Portugal and the name of the aromatic white wines that emerge from its lush hills. Over the years, as far as the West is concerned, Vinho Verde has become synonymous with inexpensive, slightly fizzy, mostly “meh” wines good for poolside sipping but lacking in serious complexity. If you know the Wines of Quinta do Ameal, however, you know better.
This uber-traditional estate was founded in 1710, and they do absolutely everything the old-school way, turning out expressions of the native Loureiro grape that rival some of the world’s most coveted wines. Here, in the Minho subzone, it’s all about old vines, low harvest yields (which equals greater concentration of expression), slow fermentation, old oak barrels, and respect for terroir. Loureiro was once thought to be a lesser variety, but one evening with a bottle from Quinta do Ameal is all it takes to prove its worthiness next to the great wines of the world.