A Vinho Verde day

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the Vinho Verde trade group.

I’m feeling fall. However, the weather is not agreeing with me and on an 85 + degree day, I find myself lingering in the white wine sections of my wine racks.  So tonight I plucked a 2011 Aphros Daphne Vinho Verde from the shelves. It has a real cork closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $24.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I found this to be pricey.

2.) Maybe I had an off bottle, but I barely got anything on the nose and didn’t find the palate to be expressive either.

3.) The wine had lots of acidity…but that didn’t make up for it being fairly uninteresting.

4.) I usually like Vinho Verde.

On the nose I got slight citrus peel and a hint of something tropical. In the mouth I found a little citrus and some spice. Overall the wine was pretty one dimensional and oddly heavy on the palate. This one was not for me.




*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for the brand.

Today’s wine is the NV Broadbent Vinho Verde. It clocks in at 9% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $8. In keeping with my earlier post this week, I’m trying a slightly different format here at Wannabe Wino. We’ll give this one a couple weeks, reevaluate and then decide where to go from there.

4 takeaways from this wine:

1.) Drink this on your porch in the 100 degree heat. It’s sure to liven up your evening and your palate.

2.) $8 and you can’t go wrong with this at your neighborhood party. The low alcohol content is also a plus if your rowdy neighbors tend to guzzle wine.

3.) The wine is more true to the Vinho Verde style that I tasted all through Portugal than many other Vinho Verdes I’ve tasted in the US, but it’s not quite the same. Perhaps that is the wine or perhaps it was the experience of drinking Vinho Verde in Portugal with the food with which it was intended to be consumed.

4.) Overall, the racy acidity and tart fruit notes make this a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and make it seem slightly reminiscent of a fruit salad. A real fruit salad, not the kind from a can.

On the nose I found lemon, white pepper, lime, green apple, and a slight floral note. In the mouth more lemon, lime, and green apple. My notes say “bam!” after I wrote in them about the racy acidity, tart fruit, and slight tingly feeling of the wine.

Wine from my Portugal Trip

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Enoforum Wines.

The friendly folks at Enoforum Wines, whom I visited on my trip to Portugal last year, recently sent me some of their current release wines.  Since Matt drank the ones I so carefully packed into my suitcase and took all the way across the ocean back home with me while I was pregnant, I was happy to have the chance to try them again!  We opened up the 2006 Alentex Trincadeira Argonez the other night. I believe that in future vintages the Alentex brand will be the Alente brand. The wine had a real cork closure (of course!), clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, and I believe it retails for somewhere around $8-$9.  At the price point, I find the wines from Enoforum to be an excellent bargain, plus, they can help you cross some grapes off your Century Club list!

On the nose I found spice, pepper, menthol, slight chocolate, dark fruits, plums, and raisins. In the mouth I got plums, cherries, pepper, spice, strawberry, and a little earthiness. We had this with a grilled marinated lamb dish. It went really well given the wine had plenty of tannins to marry well with the fat in the lamb. I recall eating quite a bit of lamb in Portugal as well and always enjoying the local red wines with them, so giving it a shot at home was a no-brainer!

Memories of Portugal

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from a PR firm.

Last year around this time, I had the fortune of going to Portugal with Enoforum Wines to taste through their portfolio and learn about Portuguese winemaking and culture. I had a wonderful time and gained a great appreciation for all things Portuguese. Especially the wine. We drank a lot of wine. Particularly Vinho Verde. Now, whenever I have a Vinho Verde I think back to the trip and all the wonderful memories I have.  With that in mind I opened the 2009 Grinalda Vinho Verde. It hails (obviously) from Portugal, clocked in at 11.5% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I got lemon, melon, citrus, pineapple, tropical notes, and flowers. I thought it smelled fresh and lively, the impression I got from Vinho Verdes while in Portugal. In the palate, tropical flavors dominated the profile, with pineapple, green apple, citrus, and lime. I found it to be crisp, sprightly, and zesty. A lovely example of Vinho Verde.


Adventures in Foreign Lands

As you may have read here on ye olde wine blog, I recently went to Portugal after winning a contest sponsored by Enoforum Wines. Enoforum Wines is an interesting company that I’ll have more to say about in a future post, but suffice it to say for the moment that they exist to produce and place Portuguese wines in foreign markets. A worthy goal for sure if what we tasted during our time in Portugal is any indication of the overall QPR of Portuguese wines. Enoforum’s purpose in bringing bloggers to Portugal is not only to expose them to the wines, but to immerse them in Portuguese culture. To that end, we played tourist for a week, seeing many of the highlights of the Lisbon area over our visit as well as playing enotourist by visiting wineries.

Since this is a wine blog after all, I’ll first tell you about one of the wineries we visited, Carmim Winery. Carmim Winery is a Coop, as are all 6 wineries from which Enoforum procures its wines. Carmim’s member farmers boast a total of 3600 hectares or approximately 9000 acres of panted vineyards. Like most of the land in the area, the vineyard land is multi-use, with sheep grazing among the vines, rows of olive trees planted among the rows of vines…etc.  600 farmers sell grapes to Carmim. I’ve previously only seen one other production that was on scale with the production at Carmim. The bottling lines at Carmim bottle between 9K to 11K bottles per hour, under 20 brand names.

Some of Carmim's many facilities

More of Carmim's many facilities

In addition to producing wine, Carmim produces olive oil. Yum. We tasted the olive oil a little later over lunch. I could have sat all day with crunchy bread and olive oil, but then you would have had to roll me home! While at Carmim, we tasted through part of the Enoforum line of wines as well as a few of the wines that Carmim produces. All of the wines from Carmim are available in the US, and Enoforum expects that its wines will be on shelves here soon. I will update you when they are as they represent some excellent QPR, with the most expensive coming in at $20, but all but a couple falling under the $15 price point, and many under the $10 price point.

Olives on the trees!

2008 Real Forte White Wine: Roupeiro, Arinto, Diagalues grapes. 13% alcohol. Expected retail: around $6.99, Tropical, start fruit, pineapple, lemon, citrus, crisp, light, slightly salty edges. (Enoforum Wines)

2007 Porto do Castello White: Antão Vaz, Arinto, Roupeiro grapes. 12.5% alcohol by volume. Expected retail: around $7.99, Light orange, citrus, flowers, lemon, slight tropical notes. Would be great with seafood. (Enoforum Wines)


2008 Régia Colheita Reserva: Antão Vaz. 13.5% alcohol by volume. Toasty, caramel, spice, apple, slight malo, apple flowers. Nice structure and acidity, light oak treatment. (Carmim Wines)

2008 Real Forte Red: Aragonez, Castelão, Trincadeira. 13% alcohol by volume. Expected retail around $7.99. Fruity, red berries, black cherry, tart plums, balanced, slight green notes, baking chocolate. (Enoforum Wines)

Old Amphora at Carmim

Old Amphora at Carmim

2006 Porta de Castelo Red: Trincadeira, Tinta Caiada, Touriga Nacional. 13% alcohol by volume. Expected retail around $8.99. Bright berries, raisin, mint, fig, plums, more complex, some spice, and herbs. (Enoforum Wines)

2006 Além: Syrah, Touriga Nacional. 14.5% alcohol by volume. Expected retail around $16.99. This was my favorite of the Enoforum Wines. Smoky, plums, blackberry, earth, meat, black cherry, nice finish, good structure/acidity. A steal for the price point. (Enoforum Wines)

Tasting Room

2008 Monsaraz Premium: Trincadeira. 14% alcohol by volume. Very smoky, black fruit, vanilla, bright black cherry, violets, nice finish, blackberry, cherry, some tannins, very young. Not yet released in the US. (Carmim Wines)

2003 Garrafeira Dos Sócios: Trincadiera, Cabernet Dauvignon, Tinta Caida, Alicante Bouschet. 14% alcohol by volume. Licorice, flowers, black cherry, black fruit, dark, cedar, big tannins, bitter chocolate, very dark. (Carmim Wines)

2007 Carmim Syrah: 13.5% alcohol by volume. Smoke, meat, berries, black cherry, plum, earth, mint, smooth, very nice, dark.

2007 Reguengos Reserva Red Wine: Trincadeira, Aragones, Tinta Caiada, Alicante Bouschet. Raisin, spice, plum, black berry, very very dark, tannins, black fruit, deep dark, spice, pepper.

Enoforum Wines

Quite a tasting and an introduction to Portuguese wines. I think this counts as the kick off to my goal of getting to know Portuguese wines in 2010!  Due to the rain, this was the only day we got out into the vineyards and I peppered the winemaker Rui with questions about vineyard practices and such. It seems that mechanized pruning and harvesting is the method of choice in Portugal as you can see from the photos. On average Carmim harvest 5,000 kilos/hectare, though that varies depending on what wine they are making from that vineyard.  Over the days we were in Portugal, I believe more rain fell than usually falls annually in Portugal. The rain could make for an interesting year for the vineyards, so I guess we’ll see as this year’s harvest approaches.

A Few of My Favorite Portugal Shots

Just some of my favorite shots from the trip! I’ll have some more comprehensive posts soon, but I’m still recovering from the trip and starting to prep for my new job that starts tomorrow.

Can't you just picture Druid-type priests here?

Not Druids.

Split cork tree.

The cow took off running shortly after I took this picture.

Our only sunny day, the sky was gorgeous.


Crab I would NOT want to meet in the ocean.

Moor Castle, my favorite!

Top 10 Things I Learned in Portugal

1.) Food is an event, not a means to an end.

2.) Cured meats before every meal is a tradition I can totally get behind.

3.) Wine at lunch. Need I say more?

4.) Vinho Verde is not effervescent in Portugal, at least not the 10 or so we had.

5.) If you are trying to join the Century Club, Portugal has many native grapes to help you on your way.

6.) A visit to a cork montado is a must.

7.) Even one café after dinner will keep me up all night.

8.) Eating Pasteis de Nata at Casa Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon is essential. (SO GOOD!)

9.) Multi-use agriculture is the norm.

10.) I need to return when it is sunny and soak up all the gorgeous architecture and culture.

I’ll be expanding on some of these in upcoming posts in the next weeks. Suffice it to say for the moment that I had a wonderful trip, learned a lot about Portugal, and very much enjoyed our hosts at Enoforum Wines.

Portugal Day 6 in Pictures

Our last day in Portugal! Like most of the trip, it rained again, but that didn’t stop us from getting out and about to the sights.  We visited the Pena Palace in Sintra.  I would love to go back in the sun some day and see this place as I imagine it is just stunning on a clear day. Not to mention the view from the top of the castle would be spectacular.  Also in Sintra we went to the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle) which was easily my favorite of the castles we visited. The wind was whipping about fiercely though and we didn’t stay as long as we would have otherwise as it felt like we were going to be blown over the edge of the walls. For lunch we went to a fabulous fish restaurant on the coast (near the Western most place in all of Europe) and had a great clam dish done in a simple broth and a sea bass baked in a salt crust. I’ve enjoyed all the seafood we’ve eaten on this trip, plus wine at lunch is a concept I’d love to see stateside!  Enjoy some of the photos from our last day:

Foggy photo of Pena Palace

Castelo dos Mouros

View of Sintra from the castle.

Selection of (very) fresh fish offered at lunch.

Coastal view.

Not quite a beach day....

Portugal Day 5 in Pictures

Day 5 found us with sun in Lisbon and the surrounding areas! While I love the photos I took in the rain and the rain doesn’t bother me at all, it was nice to be able to spend as much time as we wanted to exploring outside. We walked the entire wall of the Castle Óbidos, which took quite some time but afforded a gorgeous panoramic view of the Castle. In the afternoon we went to Batalha to see the Monastery.  In the evening we went to a beer garden type place for dinner, wandered around downtown Lisbon a bit, and tried to head to bed just a touch earlier, but didn’t succeed!  Enjoy the photos.

Lindsay and me at Castle Óbido

Another view of the Castle.

Very old windmill. We saw new windmills all over as well. Did you know Portugal gets about 50% of its electricity from windmills, dams, and solar energy?

A fish translated as from Dorado as "Golden Bream." Prepared traditionally, just grilled with sea salt. Is Bream right? I don't know what that is.

Monastery at Batalha

Curious Gargoyle on a tomb in the Monastery

Portugal Day 4 in Pictures

Rain! We got poured on everywhere we went on day 4. Good thing we didn’t really care or else we would have missed out on some really cool sights in Lisbon. We went up into the fort where the explorers left from Portugal, saw Jerónimos’ Monastery, ate traditional Portuguese cheese pastries at the place they were invented, went to the aquarium (fantastic aquarium by the way), enjoyed Fado singers over dinner….such a great day, I’d do it all over even in the rain. We also visited a Cork Montado (not really a forest because it’s a multi-purpose self-sustaining ecosystem, so called a Montado) and at the same time saw ruins that reminded me of something from the Druids. With the fog, it seemed as if old Druid priests just belonged there.  Of course, more to come from our adventures when I am home again and have time to compile my notes into coherent thoughts! For now, photos:

Split on the side of a cork tree, so you can see how thick the cork is.

Making friends with a large cork tree.

Pigs in the Cork Montado.

I thought this was an interesting shot from the top of the fort.

Absolutley amazing duck at Clube de Fado