Tastings - Wine & Spirits Magazine


92             Cazas Novas     $18     2021 Vinho Verde Avesso
Richness is all in this structured and savory avesso, from a property in the southeastern corner of Vinho Verde, just north of the Douro River. This has fresh, mouthwatering acidity to balance its dry peach-fuzz flavor. It’s firm and limpid, meaty enough for pan-seared albacore tuna. Soilair Selection, NY

91             Adega de Monção     $15     2022 Monção e Melgaço Muralhas (Best Buy)
Pale pear, peach and apple skin come together in this mild blend of alvarinho and trajadura, lasting with a cool juicy feel. As racy as the acidity may be, homing in on the pineapple flavor, it still needs a chill to tighten up the fruit. Where else in the world would you find a fresh white wine with brisk pineapple ripeness and granite minerality for $15? Tri-Vin, New Rochelle, NY

90             Quinta da Raza     $16     2022 Vinho Verde
A blend of alvarinho and trajadura (60/40), this has lush and juicy d’Anjou pear flavors in the middle, then it turns more austere, mineral and mouthwatering in the end. Serve it cold, outside, with aged goat cheese. Regal Wine, Moorestown, NJ

90             Vera     $15     2022 Vinho Verde
Rich and round with white peach flavor, this blend is based on arinto (60 percent) with azal and loureiro. The blend creates balance and an electric complexity, the flavors lasting, simple, lush and delicious. For a Cantonese feast or Wednesday night takeout. Olé & Obrigado, New Rochelle, NY

89             Quinta da Raza     $15     2022 Vinho Verde Dom Diogo Azal
Buzzing with lime-like acidity and peach-skin friskiness, this has a lasting fruit freshness to pour with Dungeness crab. Regal Wine, Moorestown, NJ

88             Esporão     $12     2022 Vinho Verde Bico Amarelo
A blend of alvarinho, loureiro and avesso, this has the talc-like feel of Vinho Verde, along with notes of peppercorn and grass. Tastings Editor Corey Warren described it as “a porch pounder to ponder.” Built for a roast fish. Now Wine Imports, Livingston, NJ

88             Quinta da Raza     $15     2022 Vinho Verde Dom Diogo Arinto
Sweet ripe pear flavors fill this arinto, refreshed by brisk acidity. It’s clean with a hint of sweetness in the end, a poolside wine for a hot summer day. Regal Wine, Moorestown, NJ

87             Quinta da Raza     $12     2022 Vinho Verde (Best Buy)
Soft notes of almond and citrus meld together in this simple Vinho Verde. It’s smoky, granitic and mild-mannered. For grilled-shrimp pasta. Regal Wine, Moorestown, NJ

87             Vidigal     $11     2022 Vinho Verde (Best Buy)
A clean summer wine as refreshing as a cold beer, with more gastronomic possibilities. All peach and lime, salty and sweet. Pour it at a clam bake. Elixir Wine Group, Bend, OR

86             Aveleda     $14     2022 Vinho Verde
Mellow green wine blending loureiro and alvarinho, this is round with smoke and leather notes. There’s calm acidity in the end; to chill for aperitifs. Aveleda, Pawtucket, RI

86             Rocim     $15     2022 Vinho Verde Goivo
Fizzy and sweet, this is a soft coastal white that finishes balanced and clean, for any pan-roasted fish. Shiverick, Los Angeles, CA
94             Palacio da Brejoeira     $33     2022 Monção e Melgaço
From a 45-acre vineyard surrounding this 19th-century neo-classical palace, Brejoeira is a legendary alvarinho in Portugal, the vineyard established in the 1970s by Maria Herminia da Silva d’Oliveira Paes, though the wine had begun to lose some of its luster as its creator and driving force held onto the reins into her elder years. The vineyard is now owned by an investment group, the wine made by João Garrido, whose 2022 hit with the kind of rich, smoky alvarinho that had earned Brejoeira its fame. A wine with the stamina to age, this has tense yellow fruit and the kind of pale, oceanic density that would pair beautifully with fresh crab. Delicious wine, and easy to drink a lot of it. —J.G. Aidil Wines & Liquors, Newark, NJ

93             Ad. Coop. Ponte da Barca     $40     2019 Minho Reserva de Sócios Alvarinho
This has the Atlantic perspective of a Muscadet, spicy and cool, complex with a touch of oxidation, briny and focused on abalone or percebes. It offers varied perspectives on the ocean, buzzing with briny energy, lasting and fascinating. Hard to resist with sushi. Tri-Vin, New Rochelle, NY

93             João Cabral de Almeida     $20     2022 Vinho Verde Camaleao Alvarinho (Best Buy)
There’s an electric current of acidity running through this wine’s massive fruit, citrus pulp and peach-skin, it finesses its generosity with a mineral note of sun-warmed stone. Substantial and giving, an Atlantic wine for the transition from summer into fall when oysters and other shellfish drive the menu. Alt Wines, Coral Gables, FL

93             Luis Seabra     $55     2020 Vinho Verde Granito Cru Alvarinho
Based in the Douro, Luis Seabra has branched out to the Dão and Vinho Verde. He searches out parcels of old vines, whether to buy fruit or to farm himself; this fruit comes from vines planted in 1989 in the granite soils of Monção e Melgaço. Seabra lets the wine ferment spontaneously in large (1,000 and 2,000 liter) ovals of Eastern European oak. While he allows it to go through malolactic fermentation, the wine is still tightly structured. Sherry-like in its stony pallor, this has a green-olive savor and a lot of mineral attitude. Panelist Nacho Monclús found it ready to impress a guest, “For a restaurant that wants to show off and talk about Vinho Verde.” Olé & Obrigado, New Rochelle, NY

92             Pipón     $22     2021 Vinho Verde Alvarinho
Round and sappy, this is a ripe alvarinho with buttery depths. It’s tense at first, loosening up with some air to give a Mandarin orange richness even as there’s plenty of structure to hold it. Easy and open, for arroz de mariscoOlé & Obrigado, New Rochelle, NY

92             Quinta da Raza     $20     2020 Vinho Verde Avesso Alvarinho
Mellow gold in color and in its juicy peach flavors, this feels luxuriant and lush with enough acidity to hold it. Sweet pumpkin spice adds to the firm structure. For braised pork. Regal Wine, Moorestown, NJ

91             Aveleda     $40     2020 Minho Parcela do Roseiral
This is alvarinho grown on rich, fertile humus over granite rock. Most of it ages for nine months in stainless steel, with 30 percent aging in French oak barrels, lending a luscious honey-pot richness, caught by fruit-skin tannins. The fruit maturity shows in the yellow-gold peachiness of the flavor, yet the wine has stamina and should develop well. Or drink it now, with crab. Aveleda, Pawtucket, RI

91             Fifth Empire     $18     2022 Vinho Verde Destino Alvarinho
With its simple pear and white-grape flavors, this wine brings some smoky lees and Atlantic saltiness. It’s the salt that lasts with the fruit in a clean, lush, delicious young wine. Alt Wines, Coral Gables, FL

90             Aveleda     $100     2018 Vinho Verde Reserva Manoel Pedro Guedes
Named for the founder of Aveleda, this wine was released in 2020 to commemorate the winery’s 150th anniversary. It’s a blend of alvarinho with 10 percent loureiro, half of it fermented and aged in stainless steel, half in 500-liter French oak barrels. The saffron-gold color predicts just how sunny and ripe this wine tastes, fully mature in its pleasantly abrasive peach-fuzz texture. It’s a bit like a Jurançon sec, chalky with toasted lees. For a grilled fish. Aveleda, Pawtucket, RI

88             Aveleda     $20     2021 Vinho Verde Solos de Granito Alvarinho
The best thing about this wine is the finish, where it’s a volcano of granitic freshness. Up front, the wine is a little soapy and floral, needing a veal terrine to saturate it. Aveleda, Pawtucket, RI

88             Aveleda     $20     2021 Vinho Verde Solos de Xisto Alvarinho
A lemony alvarinho with earthy, fruit-skin tannins keeping it tight. This is simple and pleasing. Aveleda, Pawtucket, RI

85             Aveleda     $15     2022 Vinho Verde Alvarinho
Lemon-candy notes make this a simple, accessible alvarinho, clean overall, with a green scallion note of reduction. Aveleda, Pawtucket, RI
94             Quinta do Ameal     $50     2020 Vinho Verde Reserva Loureiro
The top estates in Vinho Verde produce wines that can age and evolve for years—and Ameal’s latest Reserva is just such a fresh young white, at the beginning of its life at three years old. This is the first vintage made by the team at Esporão, which purchased the property in 2019. Grown at a parcel above the Lima River, this loureiro aged for a year in 500-liter French oak and 2000-liter Austrian oak casks, then rested in bottle for six months at the winery. On release, it tastes like a juicy summer peach, dripping with August sun, lush and delicious without overt sweetness, clean and aligned by its skin tannins, lasting with hints of flowers in the background. —J.G. Now Wine Imports, Livingston, NJ

93             Vila Nova     $18     2022 Vinho Verde Loureiro (Best Buy)
The Lencastre family has owned this property near Penafiel since the 12th century, including the tower that dates to that time, and the “new house,” built in the 1700s. They planted a modern vineyard here in the 1970s and began bottling their own wine in the aughts. This is a clean loureiro with the kind of acidity that makes its buttered-rum richness digestible. With delicious freshness and leesy depths, this ends on notes of orange zest, full and complete. Quintessential, Napa, CA

92             Ad. Coop. Ponte da Barca     $30     2022 Vinho Verde Loureiro Premium
The Lima River Valley is the home of loureiro, presented here in a ripe, inland mode. The variety’s peach pit and peach fuzz austerity centers this wine, with cider-apple and puff-pastry notes adding complexity. This is youthful and easy to enjoy now with a miso-glazed black cod. Tri-Vin, New Rochelle, NY

91             Ad. Coop. Ponte da Barca     $45     2018 Vinho Verde Reserva de Sócios Loureiro
Golden and mature, this holds onto its cool, zesty lime flavors and an apple-skin perfume. It has the stony, granitic spice that Vinho Verde can deliver. It’s a serious white, heady rather than fresh, with the complexity of bottle age. Tri-Vin, New Rochelle, NY

91             Quinta do Ameal     $20     2022 Vinho Verde Loureiro
Fragrant and honeyed, this is a zesty, limey loureiro with depth and concentration, and some punch to its structure. Cool and clean, white peach and cherimoya flavors last, along with a grassy savor. Substantial enough for roast game fish, or cabrito asadoNow Wine Imports, Livingston, NJ
88             Vera     $15     2022 Vinho Verde Rosé
Tight, rosy, peppery and meaty, this has a high-acid red wine character in a funky pink rosé. It lasts on lanolin notes. For roast suckling pig. Olé & Obrigado, New Rochelle, NY

86             Quinta da Raza     $16     2022 Vinho Verde Dom Diogo Padeiro Rosé
With sweet rhubarb and cherry flavors up front, this wine lasts on a watermelon note. Pour it cold with pâté or liver mousse. Regal Wine, Moorestown, NJ

85             Quinta da Raza     $12     2022 Vinho Verde Rosé
They got the color Provence-right on this pale-pink rosé. The flavor is earthy rather than fruit-forward, needing a chill. Regal Wine, Moorestown, NJ

Joshua Greene is the editor and publisher of Wine & Spirits magazine.

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