My Photo

search the juice

January 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    


  • Food & Drink Blog Top Sites

13 April 2007

V. Various Vinho Verde Vacts

Loureiro I.  The Vinho Verde DOC (appellation) is Portugal's largest wine region.

II.  Due to cramped vineyard space and regular rain, VV vines are traditionally co-planted with other crops, and trained above ground on granite pergolas.

III.  With the exception of Alvarhino/Albarino-based (fairly rare) Vinho Verde, these wines may not exceed 11.5% ABV.

IV.  There is actually such a thing as red Vinho Verde.  This isn't typically exported.  Red VV is also quite acidic and low in alcohol.

V.  Vinho Verde's signature petillance is actually the result of CO2-spritz before bottling.

Bonus question:  Although VV is typically drunk without any aging, shouldn't its Xtra-hi acidity enable this wine to be age-worthy?

A VV to try:  Quinta do Ameal 'Loureiro' Vinho Verde 2005 (~$12) - Imported by European Cellars.  This wine, from the VV sub-region of Lima, is made from the Loureiro grape variety.  Q. do Ameal is a bit more kraftig than most V. Verde.  It is also a vintage bottling, whereas other VV's are NV offerings.  While this wine is rather acidic, it feels rather smooth and viscous in the mouth.  In addition to the expected mineral flavors, Quinta do Ameal slides in some ripe red pear flavor.  Give it a try with a side of potato salad and be happy.

Learn everything and anything about the double-V here.

06 April 2007

An Ode to the Double-V

Spring has sprung
Hear the singing birdie
Time for Vinho Verde!

Though overlooked by many 'serious' wine lovers, VV is hands down one of the best, if not the best, value in the white wine universe.  Why?  Let me count the ways..

  1. VV is usually in the $8-$10 range
  2. V.Verde offers a dose of zing (acidity), some petillance and tasty lemon-lime-pear flavor
  3. Vinho Verde pairs with almost any springtime picnic basket food - crusty bread and cheese, ma's potato salad, fried chicken, deviled eggs, &c
  4. At 8-11% alcohol b.v., VV won't turn brunch into a prelude to a mental fog-filled day
  5. Did I mention it is cheap?

Learn more about NW Portugal's cheerful, slightly spritzy gem here.

Vinho_verde_3 Broadbent Vinho Verde NV ($10) - a blend of 3 traditional VV grapes (notice the absence of Albarino/Alvarinho, which is actually not a traditional V.Verde grape): Loureiro, Trajadura and Pederna.  This wine is bracingly crisp, with surprisingly fresh fruit flavors of citrus and pear.  It's light, simple and easily loved.  Give it a try with your first brunch or picnic of spring.

20 September 2006

Lent List

Tikigoblet My wine lent list thus far:

Jeriko Estate Sangiovese 2003 ($16-$20) - I'm surprised at how often I enjoy Italians raised in California.  This Mendocino red, while powerful, offers some righteous complexity.  Red & black berry scents spiced with dried herbs and a hint of clove.  The tannins are a bit grippy, which makes it a great choice with something roasted.  Organic. Verdict: Recommended

Quinta dos Roques Garrafeira 2000 ($35) - An old world throwback.  Flavors of just-ripe red cherry mixed with hints of cedar and earth.  Jaggedy, slightly wild tannins that haven't yet softened with age.  Have you ever tried red wine from the Dao region of Portugal?  It may just inspire you to talk like a pirate.  Yar. 
Verdict: Recommended

Qupe Marsanne 2004 ($20) - What do you get when you pull Viognier out of a white Cali-Rhone blend?  Less honeysuckle and more fresh melon tang.  This Santa Ynez Valley white wine is the perfect California expression of two of the Rhone's unheralded whiteys (75% Marsanne & 25% Rousanne).  Slurp it with a little spicy Asian stir fry.  Verdict: Highly Recommended

Bonny Doon Erbaluce 2004 ($17) - This resurrected northern Italian varietal produces charming wine.  It's been known to save relationships.  Doon's Erbaluce exhibits a nifty combination of lemon zest, white pear and herbal scents.  On the tongue, the wine is deceptively rich and hearty - it'll stand up to spicy Indian curry.  Verdict: Highly Recommended

Thus far the grape varietal roster for wine lent reads:

  • Sangiovese
  • Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz and Jaen (Portugese grapes)
  • Marsanne & Rousanne
  • Erbaluce

Do you have any exciting, lent-approved discoveries to add?

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

19 September 2006

Thar Be th' Dao

Jollyrodger Yar!  Ye landlubbers.  Grab a stool 'n heed me tale.  A tale of swashbucklin an' mutiny on the high seas!  It happ'nt lo many years hence.  But t'me - it seems t'be only a fortnight previous...

I was cap'n of a frightnin galleon.  She was th' most fearsome ship ever to sail the seven seas. Me 'n me crew plundered 'er from the Spanish armada.  Aye, we swashbuckled 'er in the black 'o night from th' sorriest lot o' sprogs ye ever did see.  Yar.  Me crew christen'd 'er 'The Widow' after findin the galley filled to the sails with frenchy bubbly wine called Voove.  Aye, after sendin that lilly-livered crew of spaniards into Davey Joneses locker we smashed open a hogshead of Voove bottles and swilled 'til me 'n me crew sprouted the reddest grog blossoms ye ever did see.  Arrr!  'Twas a joyous fest.  But after hours a'drinkin, me crew went a'sleep.  Yet, I, the ol' Cap'n - elder als the lot of 'em, was still carousin'.  I sat down on the empty hogshead and she smashed like a wee robin's egg.  Yar!  splinters in the backside.  Arr.  I lept to me feet and started de-splinterin, when I spied a scrap o' parchment on the deck.  'Twas a map.  A treasure map!  And lo, the treasure was buried near the Dao - miles inland in the north of Portugal.  I hid the treasure map in me pantaloons.  Avast! The Dao booty would be mine, an' mine alone.


At Dawn I shook me crew awake.  The lot of 'em were still loaded to the gunwalls with th' bubblin grog.  "Awake!  Ye lot of scallywags." I shouted.  "We sail to the Dao."  "Now smartly there drunken swabs." 

Continue reading "Thar Be th' Dao" »

07 September 2006

Spanish Sacrifice


You mean I've got to hike 7 miles and climb 4,000' in order to enjoy Sierra?

25 April 2006

Ten Buck Tuesday: Verde v. Grün

Boxingw_1 Back to defend its Ten Buck Tuesday title is....Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde (NV, $8)

This week V.Verde takes on an up-and-coming challenger - Berger Grüner Veltliner (2004) from Austria's Kremstal region.  At first glance, Berger appears to be ineligible to compete in T.B.T.  The wine, at $12, is over the price limit.  However our judges* have dertermined that Berger, in the unique 1000 ml (1 litre) size class, qualifies as a ten buck wine (were the wine in a regulation size 750 ml bottle, its price would be around nine dollars).

Berger, aside from a bottle-girth advantage, is a formidable foe to Aveleda's V.V.  This wine is made in a similar fashion - using just-ripe, low sugar grapes.  Berger G.V. weighs in at a svelte 11.5% alcohol, and packs a jaw-rattling acid punch.  You might say this is Austria's version of Vinho Verde.  It's simple, refreshing and extraordinarily finger food-friendly.


At the end of the tenth round the fight appears to be a draw.  What's this? Aveleda's Vinho Verde has yet to come out of its corner.  It appears to be empty, while Berger still has 250 ml-worth of picnic-ready wine in the tank.  The referee has stepped in and stopped the fight.  And the winner by TKO is....


Berger Grüner Veltliner 2004 ($12, 1 litre bottle)

Who's ready to step up and name a contender for the Ten Buck Tuesday Value Wine Grand Championship?  Give us your best shot.

*Ten Buck Tuesday is like Calvinball - the rules may change at any time

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

18 April 2006

Ten Buck Tuesday: Sicily v. Portugal

Boxingw In the 'Global' corner we have...
Feudo Arancio Chardonnay (2004, $8) - weighing in at 13.5% alcohol.  This Chardonnay hails from Sicily.  It's an un-oaked wine, with a surprisingly crisp character.  Arancio Chardonnay offers flavors of citrus and pineapple.  It's perfectly serviceable, yet a little too generic to my taste.  If you're interested in a cheap Sicilian, I recommend going with Feudo's Grillo, a native white grape or Nero D'Avola, a spicy-fruity red wine that's perfect with pizza.

In the 'Quirky' corner we have...
Aveledavv Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde (NV, $8) - weighing in at a svelte 8.5% alcohol.  This light, salivary gland-tickling, slightly bubbly wine is made to be drunk within two years of its born-on date. Vinho Verde (green wine) is a traditional wine made in Portugal's rainy northwest.  In this damp climate, vines grow quickly and produce grapes high in acid and low in sugar.  The result is a very light wine that tastes something like a Granny Smith apple-lime spritzer.  In fact some might argue that it "tastes great," while others contend it's, "less filling."  Try it with Tempura or a Feta & spinach salad.

And the winner of this week's Ten Buck Tuesday is...Avelda Vinho VerdeFind it online or at a shop near you.

Have you discovered any ten buck champions recently?

17 April 2006

A Rosetta Stone for Portuguese Wine

Portenglish Ryan of Catavino brings us all you ever wanted to know about the Portuguese wine label (but were afraid to ask).  With this handy guide, you'll be able to regale your friends about Vinho de Calidad from Alentejo  made in a brand new Adega and aged in Maduro Tambor.

23 January 2006

Like Pro-Keds in a Manolo Box

Dig this.  Suppose you've been invited to a housewarming party.  Naturally, as a wine lover, you plan on bringing some wine to your pals' hizzouse.  And be honest, you're going to be packing this bottle not so much because the hosts are wine people, but because you want to have something good to drink.  Of course, you run the risk of having your gift bottle disappear once deposited on the refreshment table (you know those people who don't bring wine, but actively chug the free stuff at get-togethers).  For this reason, you want something that won't cause you to audibly gasp if it's emptied within the first ten minutes of your arrival (i.e. in the $10-$15 range).  As a cherry-on-top sort of thing, it would also be great to find a wine that looks classy; one that exudes a little bit of luxury.  The result of bringing such a bottle might be twofold:  1) Your hosts could think, "Wow! Jane & Jim are really generous.  Just look at that fancy bottle of wine they brought." and 2) Wine poachers (well, those with a conscience anyway) may shy away from the classier stuff and pour their glass-fulls from other bottles with semi-aquatic cartoon birds or bouncing marsupials on the label.

So what wine works in a situation like this?  Allow me to suggest 'Adriano' from the iconic Port house, Ramos Pinto.  Even non-wine drinkers are likely to recognize Adriano's label.


(see a larger version of this photo at Vino Voyeur)

Now this is what I call an easy-drinking wine in a classy wrapper (Think Pro-Keds in a Manolo Blahnik box).

The Skinny
Ramos Pinto 'Adriano' DOC Douro 2003 (~$13)

  • A blend of 4 native grape varieties, more commonly found in Port
  • From Portugal's Douro region - 13% alcohol
  • The wine's color is dusty cordovan at its core, fading to bright ruby and finally to a thin watery rim
  • My first whiff impression: "Really ripe fruit & meat"; Adriano offers scents of berry compote and a meatiness with savory herbs.  There is also a dusty earth component lurking in the glass
  • Simple, youthful flavors of red plums and berries, paired to friendly, slightly rounded tannins.  Bright red cherry flavors bust through on the finish.  Just a bit flabby, but enough of a mini acid-lift to warrant a spot at the casual dining table.  After 30+ minutes, tart cherry flavors begin to win the in-glass flavor tussle

*** (3 stars out of 5)

Adriano isn't terribly complex or unique.  However, it's a sure to be a crowd pleaser at parties.  This drink-me-now red will pair with pizza, grilled meats and pasta. The added bonus is a label that puts those cartoon characters to shame.

Tagged with: +

16 November 2005

Gagged by the Grip

CclampKudos to Ryan of Catavino and his recent post on Portugese wine grape vocabulary. It inspired me to bust out an LBV port I had been saving so I could drink while I practiced my Portugese. It was the 1998 Late Bottled Vintage Quinta do Infantado , a traditional style LBV. Infantado uses all Class A vineyards for their ports, so I was hoping for some good stuff. One whiff stirred my senses, with an alluring nose of raisins, blackberries and some minty licorice aromas (and a healthy dose of alcohol at 19.5%). One sip and my mouth was filled with rich fruit, but then something funny happened. A surge of tannins moved in, and after a few seconds, my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. It was Sandpaper City as the tannins took over, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t taste. I just sat there and tried to find my saliva. Hello, saliva? No wonder why they refer to tannins as “grip”. After about five minutes I finally had my tongue back, only to take another sip and repeat the agony all over again. Once hairs started sprouting from my chest, I recorked the bottle and called it a day.

FYI, I tried it again a few days later and had the same result.

Lbv_infantado_2LBV’s are generally released when ready to drink, unlike a vintage port which requires years and years of aging. But I think this bad boy needs some more time. Perhaps the killer grip comes from the fact that Infantado ferments their grapes in lagares, which is a lengthy process that can draw out more tannins. Regardless, I'm eager to buy another bottle and try it again in a few years. Maybe at that time, chest hair on women will be “in”.

P.S. The more port you drink, the better your Portugese gets.


site sponsors

Vino Voyeur