The Vinho Verde taking it a step further
Vinho Verde is known as a fresh white wine with a green hue and a slight frizzante. Luckily the wines from the region are improving fast. Therefore Vinho Verde is becoming more than this acidic thirst-quenching bodiless white. Small producers look for terroir expression in their wines, opting for low yields and sustainable viticulture.
Quinta da Cova Raposa is the perfect example of all this. Only a few thousand bottles a year, made from just under 3 hectares. A landscape with vineyards, amidst wildflowers and green herbs. The biodiversity provides natural protection against vineyard pests and diseases. The poor granite-sandy soil is perfect for the local varieties and the gentle slope provides good natural drainage.
The name of the region is based on the green landscape rather than the light green tinge in the wine. Vinho Verde is one of the wettest regions in Europe. Close to the Atlantic coast the amount of rainfall is 3000 mm annually. Sufficient ripeness of the grapes can be a problem, but there is protection from the hillside along the coast in the areas around Braga.
The Fox Den
Quinta Cova da Raposa, literally the fox’s den, is a small certified organic winery just outside Braga. Braga is located along the banks of the Minho River, the heart of the Vinho Verde. The Quinta saw the light in 1997 and from day one the focus point was to restore nature in the vineyards and on the estate. In addition to grapes, fruit, vegetables, and herbs were also planted on the granite-rich slopes. And even beehives to produce lovely homemade honey.
The winery owns 3 hectares of granite-sandy soil with southern exposure. The focus is on the indigenous varieties Avesso and Alvarinho. The winery produces about 7000 litres annually. Since 2017 sulphites and other chemical aids are omitted. To maintain optimal freshness, winemakers Manuel Taxa and Elisabete Raposo ferment the juice in temperature-regulating steel tanks. The focus is on quality and low yields. Since 2016, the wines are bottled on their own domain.
Two Mono-cépage: Avesso and Alvarinho
The oenologist is Manuel de Sousa Taxa uses biodynamic production methods in the vineyards as well as in the cellar. The wines are Ecocert certified.
Avesso Vinho Verde
Spontaneous fermentation in temperature-regulated steel tanks. The Avesso produces sufficient sugars in the relatively cool Vinho Verde. Early ripening and medium-sized grapes thrive best on poor granite soils. Native to the Minho region where it is the most important grape for Vinho Verde. The great ripening potential is accompanied by good acidity and full fruit tones. The fruit expresses itself in stone fruit and moves towards tropical. Flowery in the nose, thanks to the lie ripening, and dry in the finish. This is a structured wine with spicy acidity. A perfect match to rich seafood dishes.
Vinho Regional Minho Alvarinho
The Alvarinho is native to the Northeast of Portugal and nearby Spanish Galicia, where the grape is called Albariñho. It is the oldest planted white grape variety in Spain and Portugal. There are even small plots with plants of 200 to 300 years old. A good Alvarinho has both floral and fruity notes. Linden blossom, orange and acacia blossom, honeysuckle, dried orange peel and grapefruit.
Concentrated with good acidity and some mineral salinity. A great companion to grilled or fried seafood. This alvarinho already shows some tertiary tones. Although the wine is still young, there’s an edgy sherry note.