The double "v" of Vinho Verde could easily stand for ‘very versatile'. The Five Fishermen's Avery Gavel, fresh from a visit to Northern Portugal, describes the wines as having "an effervescence found somewhere between still and sparkling. A bottle of Vinho Verde in the fridge means you're ready for impromptu celebrations all season, and when the weather warms up, a spring spritzer on the deck."
Gavel says "Vinho Verde also partners beautifully with Nova Scotia seafood. Lobster, crab, oysters, sardines, halibut and haddock are popular here and in Portugal. The saltiness of simply prepared ocean fish heightens the refreshing spritz of the wine, and the wine's acidity brings out the delicate flavours of the seafood."
I couldn't agree more. This summer local restaurants will be partaking in a month long celebration of Vinho Verde with wines from the region being served by the glass. There are currently only two Vinho Verde wines in the market (both available at the NSLC) although Wines of Vinho Verde Canada are attempting to introduce new wines, including some inventive styles, to the market over the coming months. Here is a review of the Vinho Verde wines available in Nova Scotia along with a Burgundian Pinot Noir I recently discovered.
Everyday: Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde (Portugal) (NSLC, $11.99)
The appearance is extremely pale and slightly pétillant (a French term referring to a very slight sparkle). The nose has a saline and very slightly smoky (likely a result of some aging on the lees) quality along with some lifted citrus notes. The palate is fresh and focuses on citrus (lemon, lime) flavours and chalky acidity.
Serving Suggestion: Oysters on the half shell
Gourmet: Domaine de Gachot-Monot Cotes de Nuit-Villages (France) (Bishops, $34.61+tax)*
I almost never purchase an entry level Pinot Noir from Pinot Noir as they often disappoint. With some convincing I tried the Domaine de Gachot-Monot available at Bishops Cellar. Impressively concentrated in appearance and on the nose with a nice mix of earthy rusticity and tangy red fruit flavours. There is a lot more substance to this Pinot than its price suggests
Serving Suggestion: Seared Duck Breast with sautéed shitake mushrooms
• Limited Quantities. Call ahead to ensure the product is still available.
Mark DeWolf is the Food & Drinks Editor of Occasions Magazine, a sommelier instructor and owner of By the Glass.