Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So Much Wine, So Little Time

We are embracing Portuguese wine!!  So far, we have tried more than 50 different wines just from the Minho, Douro and Alentejo regions.   The selection at local grocery stores and wine shops is truly mind boggling.  There is an entire wall at a nearby store which features wines under 3.89 € ($5.50)!!!

As temporary residents of the Minho region, we have come to love the local vinho verde or green wine.  We have tried tinto (red) and rosado (pink), but we prefer branco (white).  Vinho verde is crisp, fruity, slightly fizzy and perfect with the rich dishes this region is famous for.  When we're dining out, I get giddy when a server brings a jug of it, pulled fresh from a tap at the bar, and deftly pours it from a nice height to get the bubbles going.  Our favorite (and only) waiter at the Churrasqueira da Sé jokingly calls it champagne! 

The price is right ~
a VERY full glass of vinho verde for 1€
Although the red wines from the Minho are a bit rough around the edges, red wines from the Alentejo region are fruity, smooth and absolutely delicious.  The warmer climate in the lower part of Portugal helps produce some wonderful grapes.  Many of our favorite wines from this region are only 5 or 6 € per bottle.  

The Douro is best known for producing grapes used to make port wine, but non-ports from this region are also very good.  We've tried about 15 different port wines so far and have some favorite producers including Ramos Pinto, Ferreira and Quinta do Infantado.  We are especially fond of white port, which is hard to find in the United States.  It's young, dryish, light, and is heavenly when chilled and served with Romeu e Julieta - aged cheese with quince paste.  It's a perfect combination.  You'll have to come visit us for samples!!

Some things in Portugal are reasonably priced and some are not...
Together, these 3 bottles of delicious wine cost less than
1 bottle of contact lens solution!!
There is a lot we will miss when we leave this quirky country, and we can't help but think about how painful it will be to pay more than $10 for a good bottle of wine when we return home.  My beer loving husband really likes the wine here and he's already moaning about the price we'll have to pay for something similar in Minnesota.


1 comment:

  1. We are glad to hear that there are some things that are inexpensive.