An introduction to Vinho Verde at Archive 909

Originally published on Mary’s Happy Belly

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Address: 909 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON
When I attended: Dec 1, 2015 – media wine pairing event

To sum up the whole night, and Vinho Verde in particular, in two words would be: fresh and approachable. Organized by Re:Source Media and co-hosted by Kevin Fox of CNBC World’s Wine Portfolio, the wines lived up to their claim of being like no other in the World and the pairings we were presented did their best to bring out the diverse and sunlit notes of the wines and transported us to the luscious coastal region of Portugal that is their source.

A voyage through Portugal's lush terroir

A voyage through Portugal’s lush terroir

First, a couple facts:

  1. Vinho Verde (VV, henceforth) are young wines that are not allowed to mature and therefore have a crisp and fresh overall bouquet
  2. The wines grow in a cooler region of Portugal which accounts for the variability in grape
  3. VVs are a bit like the runt of the litter — they’re ever-so-slightly fizzy from the in-bottle malolactic fermentation which gives them a slight effervescence that would ordinarily be undesirable in winemaking. But when it comes to the VV, this is certainly a desirable and pleasurable quality. It’s certainly not a sparkling wine, but the carbonation adds an element of texture that is quite refreshing.
  4. Most of Portugal’s VV get consumed domestically! It’s only in the recent past that more and more of it has travelled around the world and been included in wine-lists globally.
  5. For generations, VV-making has been a passion passed on within the family with some vineyards possessing legacies going back decades. Even now, there is a disproportionate number of VVs made by family growers — though industrialization has had to creep in to meet booming demands.

The venue for our VV introduction couldn’t have been more apt. Archive 909 co-owner Josh Corea and his staff made our tasting a true experience by building a menu that included Pastéis de bacalhau (moist and meaty cod fritters); Celery, Fennel & Parsley Salad; Riopelle de l’Isle; Chicken-Liver Mousse on Crustini; and an intriguing Saltfish Buljol. These 5 little plates were paired with a selection of VVs that ranged in price from a couple dollars to the $50 bottle of biodynamic 2013 Loureiro by Aphros. My favourite of the 5 is definitely the CDV Brazao which won be over with its freshness and crispness that proved to be an excellent pairing with the relatively plain Pastéis.

All in all, the night proved to be a wonderful introduction to a wine-growing region I was unaware of. Definitely add a Vinho Verde during your next trip to the LCBO or Wine Store — many of the ones mentioned in this post and in the images are available in stores now!

Off-dry and fruity, available at LCBO

The off-dry and fruity, CDV Brazao, available at LCBO – paired with Celery, Fennel and Parsley Salad

*The food and wine were complimentary. The opinions in the post are my own.


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