I continue my exploration of the many varied wines of Portugal's Vinho Verde region with this pair that showed up at the house last week. Given that I'm now living so close to sources of fresh seafood, pork offal, and cured meats that require a five-language guidebook, I'm beginning to think that it's time for me to start studying authentic Portuguese cuisine.
At some point, there's going to be a dinner party invite that begins, "The first course will be eels... If that's a problem, I'm not offended if you decline, because it's only going to get more non-mainstream American after that."
As with Spain, the wines of Portugual continue to amaze me with their ability to pair with a wide range of foods, and even bargain wines like these will just get better and better depending on how much care and flavor you put into your dishes. At the very least, rich cheeses and grilled vegetables topped with sea salt will draw out wonderful tastes when paired with wines such as the two below.
2012 Quinta da Raza Grande Escolha
Minho Vinho Regional
Blend of Alvarinho & Trajadura
$13, 12.5% abv.
This is a fairly traditional Vinho Verde, a little fizzy but oddly (and refreshingly) not sweet. Tropical fruits and a little floral undertone round out the nose, while the body is crisp, dry, and one that goes well with fresh fruit and yogurt. Not suggesting this as a breakfast wine, but as a light afternoon summer snack it works well.
2012 Quinta de Gomariz Espadeiro Rosado
Ave, Vinho Verde
$12, 11.5% abv.
Beautiful light salmon color, mild flavor of wild strawberries, bright acidity and a clean, smooth finish. And it's got some gentle bubbles to it, which I wasn't expecting. I enjoyed it with yet another homemade anchovy pizza as part of my summer project to A) get better at making pizzas and B) sweat in the kitchen. The salt of the fish and the savory elements of my dried mushroom tomato sauce came together perfectly with this wine for great balance all around.
Note: These wines were provided as samples.