Portugal is a very diverse country with six main wine regions producing all sorts of wines. I visited Vinho Verde which is the biggest wine region in the north west corner. Vinho Verde is the name of the region and not the grape, so lets get that right at the beginning.
Within Vinho Verde, there are nine sub regions. I visited one producer in Ave sub region in Guimaraes. The Quinta do Ermizio is run by Antonio Monteiro. Antonio a retired professor of horticulture is now fully occupied with his vineyards of 15 ha. While visiting the vineyards, he explains to me, “The wine is made here in the vineyard. We only preserve it in the winery.” Antonio believes in terroir and produces terroir reflected wines with his three labels. The first one is the Vinho Verde wine. In this he uses Lourerio and Trajadura grapes. Both of these grapes and Alvarinho are grown in his vineyards.
While walking in the vineyards, I notice the drip irrigation system and I am surprised to see. Antonio explains to me, “We have a maritime climate here, and get a lot of rain during september, but it is necessary to irrigate during June/July for a bit, because the granitic soil does not hold water.” Most of the vines here are on pergolas. This is important to have a good air circulation during the humid growing conditions to avoid rot.
We move on the winery to taste, Campo do Porral Vinho Verde DOC, Vinha do Cuco and Vinha da Bouça. I see that only one wine is labelled as Vinho Verde. Antonio explains, “I do not want all my wines in the Vinho Verde category, because of the perception that Vinho Verde has in the world. We produce high quality, terroir driven, artisan wines here in Quinta do Ermizio. Even our only Vinho Verde stands out as a high quality white wine.”
I tasted the 2016 and 2017 vintages. 2017 is much more fresh, and has a lot of primary fruit flavours. However 2016 is just amazing, it has already developed some tertiary flavours of honey etc, and it has a much more fuller body with a beautiful long finish. These wines are made precisely and have really high acidity that will push them forward to age for a few years.
We then moved on to tasting award winning varietal wines. Vinha da Bouça has won three gold medals in the Alvarinho wine tasting where any country can compete. This wine is very complex and has great intensity of fruit. It has citrus and tropical fruit flavours with a high acidity and long finish.
Quinta do Erminio only produces few thousand bottles of each label and already exports to a handful countries from the USA to Denmark. We, Sonvino, will be bringing these beautiful wines to the wine lovers of the UK. They are all high quality and very reasonable prices. We are happy that we found these terroir driven wines.