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Classic dry white wine from Portugal

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Jason Wentworth, Jon Wentworth, and Kelley O'Neill

Portugal's Vinho Verde, or "green wine," is so named for its fresh style, appely bite, and the fact that it is made from early harvested grapes. It is produced in northwest Portugal, from south of Porto north to the Spanish border. Ironically, most of this fizzy, low alcohol wine is red, much of it consumed by the Portuguese. Most Vinho Verde sold in the U.S. is white.

Recently, the staff at Northside Wine & Spirits conducted a blind tasting of seven examples of Vinho Verde branco. The poorest were found to be thin, neutral, and acidic, while the best were aromatic and crisply fruity. One wine was clearly a cut above the rest, the 2004 Quinta do Minho Vinha Verde, produced by brothers Antonio and Manuel Pires da Silva. At $9.99 per bottle it's more expensive than most Vinho Verde, but clearly worth it.

The grapes for this white Vinho Verde come largely from the brothers' Quinta do Minho vineyard, supplemented by additional purchased grapes. Made primarily froma Portuguese grape variety called Loureiro, said to smell of louro (laurel), the wine possesses a lovely array of fruit aromas, hinting at apple, pear, and citrus. While appropriately very light and dry on the palate, it was much more flavorful than the other wines.

Try this wine with simple seafood dishes or light vegetarian dishes, including salads. It also makes an interesting choice to serve with a wide range of Chinese dishes; its crisp, dry, spritzy finish cleanses the palate and cuts through complex or spicy flavors.
"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 10/03/05

Northside Wine & Spirits is located at the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira Road.

Phone 607-273-7500

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