This esteemed winery of Casal Garcia in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal produces a Red, a Rose, and two very different Whites. This delightful Casal Garcia Vinho Verde is the traditional dry White.
Casal Garcia is an unusual vineyard in Portugal because it has leaned heavily towards the French style of wine making for more than 80 years.
The Casal Garcia Red is a French-style Red, not a traditional Vinho Verde — in fact they market it as a Vinho Tinto, not as a Vinho Verde. Most Douro Valley vineyards produce a Vinho Verde Red, not this kind of French-style Red.
Casal Garcia produces three versions of Vinho Verde — a Rosé Vinho Verde, a highly unusual Sweet Vinho Verde, and this traditional dry Vinho Verde.
I have to admit, I first tasted this wine when a dinner guest brought it as a table gift. We loved it. It made a delightful aperitif. And it paired brilliantly with barbecued shrimp, pineapple, bell pepper, and onion skewers.
Then about a week later I almost fell over when I went to the store to buy another bottle. It is a $6 bottle of wine!
Believe me, it’s an absolute steal at that price. I can’t say it is my favorite Vinho Verde on record. It has a tiny bit more edge than some of my favorite Vinho Verde wines. But it is quite good. And for the price, it’s GREAT.
I have since paired it with a board of sharp French cheeses, Rochefort, olives, and apple slices — and it was quite lovely. I think it would support and balance really spicy heat — an adventure to experience down the road.
The nez is citrus with a whiff of smoke. The bouche is lemon peel, green apple, lime zest with an overtone of wildflowers and a surprisingly smooth finish for such tartness.
You can find Casal Garcia Vinho Verde at many local wine merchants or you can order it online from Spec’s.
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