Time to highlight yet a Vinho Verde producer and a Sub-região not mentioned here before; meet Quinta de Linhares and the sub-region of Sousa. Thanks for stopping by. If you’re like me and love to take a closer look at Portuguese wines, you will hopefully like it here. Besides this site I’m also mad about Madeira wines and you can of course find me on Facebook and Twitter. Use the Follow me tag to the right for quick links. See you!
What I’m about to tell is probably not news to many of you; at least not for those of you who has visited a Portuguese wine producer. Portuguese hospitality is amazing! I can’t help but to love the country’s people and their genuine friendliness. They’re not just being professional. It’s simply their way; like a mixture of honor and pride. Honor since they really are proud you have taken your time to visit, pride since you’re showing an interest in Portuguese wines. Add humbleness to that and you’re starting to get the picture.
Great day with great people
Before mid-March I hadn’t met Manuel Resende Teixeira previously. Yet the hospitality was enormous and it didn’t take long before it felt like I’ve known this man for years. Precisely the same feeling I experienced at Quinta do Ameal in Lima and at Quinta de Gomariz in Ave.
Manuel are responsible for the Quinta de Linhares estate, a newcomer on the Vinho Verde scene, having only produced since 2007. Located in the Sub-region of Sousa, the estate have focused on indigenous grapes such as Loureiro, Alvarinho, Avesso, Azal and Trajadura. There’s also two red wine grapes in Espadeiro and the exciting Vinhão variety. The production isn’t big in any sense; we’re talking about roughly 75,000 liters per year.
In 2011 Manuel took the decision to switch consulting winemaker; from one successful to another. António Sousa who’s shown great results at Gomariz for example, was replaced by the internationally well-known Anselmo Mendes, Mr. Alvarinho (photograph to the left, with his wife). No hard feelings; just a switch of winemaking philosophy and style. António stands for an expressive style of Vinho Verde and Anselmo represents a more mineral driven, drier kind of wine. For a closer presentation of Anselmo Mendes, check here, on António here.
Located in Sousa, close to Penafiel (east of Porto), the vineyards are at 200 to 300 meters altitude. Mostly sandy soil on gentle slopes. Cordon trained vines. There are nine sub-regions in this huge part of Portugal, a region that represents somewhere between 15-20 per cent of the country’s wine production.
Linhares aren’t expensive wines. Not at all. Few Vinho Verde are, besides some from up north, in the sub-region of Moncão e Melgaco. But the quality is there and they offer lots of character, personality and above all, fantastic food friendliness. These are wines made to enjoy with your meal, the Alheira to the left for example. Amazing sausage which was served after the tasting, as a starter.
There are particularly two wines I find very exciting from this producer; the Avesso and the Azal. Avesso is the new black in Minho; with high quality and a style leaning towards a more full-bodied one. The 2011 Avesso from Linhares shows peaches, apricots, minerals and some grapefruit. Good body, fine acidity, minerals and a slight bitterness in the end. That’s Avesso and I really like it. Perhaps it can steal some of the attention from Alvainho the coming years?
Few know about Azal. It’s easy to find a common denominator both with Riesling and Sauvignon blanc. The acidity is not for the weak ones but at Linhares it is gorgeously balanced by the green apply and herbal fruit. Add the Anselmo trademark as well; lots of mineral feel. Not as concentrated in style as the Avesso, but more cold climate fruit over this one. The grape are mainly found in the southern sub-regions where it can produce rich harvests unless yields are kept reasonable.
The 2011 Azal shows lots of minerals, green apples and herbs. Lime peel, sour green apples, lovely fruit and a quite elegant taste. A delicious wine. With producers like Linhares daring to bottle Azal on its own, one can only hope more will follow, because you do want to try this one and make sure there’s always a few at home.
The rosé of Linhares is a blend. Well, most of it is Espadeiro but who can resist the color of Vinhão? A dash of the almost impenetrable color that the grape possesses, is hard to resist. Espadeiro is a high quality grape which seems destined for rosé wines although it also produces red wines with less acidity and tannins compared to Vinhão. The 2011 rosé from Linhares is delicious, totally free from the horrible tutti-frutti style too many rosé wine producers seems to strive for. Dry of course.
PS. I’m the lucky holder of the Alheira recipe, the sausage. If you’re nice I will give it to you. Drop me an email.