Quinta de Val-Bôa: an exciting new Vinho Verde discovery
It’s good to hear that Vinho Verde is enjoying a revival of interest in the UK and elsewhere. As readers know, I’m a huge fan of the drier, single varietal sub-regional styles, especially Alvarinho from Monão e Melgaço, Loureiro from Lima and, latterly, Avesso from Baião and Amarante in Vinho Verde’s south east.
According to Manuel Pinheiro, executive president of The Comissao de Viticultura da Regiao dos Vinhos Verdes, “people are starting to trade up and experiment with the more expensive and diverse range of wines that are now being made in Vinho Verde.” More expensive yes, but great value I might add.
And it’s not just Moncão e Melgaço, Lima, Baião and Amarante which excite, although they have paved the way for premium Vinho Verde. Take the wines of Quinta de Val-Bôa which I discovered at last month’s Wines of Portugal Annual Tasting in London. Based in Atei in the Basto subregion, the property has been in Jorge Albuquerque da Quinta’s family for some 150 years. However, it has only recently started to focus on making Vinho Verde under the estate name; the wines have yet to be exported to the UK.
The vineyard (3.5ha) was planted in 2003 to Azal, Trajadura, Avesso, Alvarinho and Pedernã (Arinto) and the first wines were made around four years ago. Albuquerque da Quinta (pictured) told me a real leap in quality came in 2012 when the wines were made and bottled at the estate’s new winery for the first time with consultancy from Dirk Niepoort, an old family friend.
Here are my notes on the wines, which I thought showed lovely line & great promise:
Quinta de Val-Bôa OLO 2012 (Vinho Regional Minho)
This super-tangy blend of Trajadura, Pedernã, Avesso, Azal and a dash of barrel fermented Alvarinho (c5%) is round, creamy even but long and mouthwatering with contrasting but well knit layers of apple and orange peel, grapefruit and apple core. Very delicious. 11% abv
Quinta de Val-Bôa OLO Alvarinho 2013 (VR Minho)
The vineyard’s solar exposure and the influence of the Tâmega river produce excellent ripening conditions for Alvarinho (and 2013 was a very hot year). This wine was 60% fermented in stainless steel vats with temperature control while the balance aged for 4 months in used French oak barrels (François Fréres). The oak grooms the wine, adding to its structure, focus and mouthfeel. Classic Alvarinho peach and apricot fruit lingers. Good. 11% abv
Quinta de Val-Bôa VAL-BÔA (DOC Vinho Verde)
This delicate but tightly concentrated blend of Trajadura, Pedernã e Azal was fermented in stainless steel vats with temperature control. It’s a razor sharp Riesling-esque Vinho Verde with a lovely concentration and intensity of crisp green apple fruit and minerals, perfumed and textural notes of pear skin too. Lively and very persistent. Very fine. 12% abv