Friday, June 10, 2011

Vinho Verde in Rosé Form, Superb!

I love vinho verde! Let's get that out of the way. If you're looking for a lightly bubbly, refreshing, crisp white/rosé wine for a sweltering hot day, choose vinho verde. The low alcohol (11% in this one!) lets you have more than a glass or two and it's versatile enough to pair with all manner of foods including Thai, Latin, and sushi. Getting Thai takeout this summer? Try a vinho verde out and experience how the bubbles and acidity cleanse your palate after each bite of food. That fish burrito from the taco shop? Vinho verde will pair beautifully!

The majority of vinho verde that I have tasted has been white or more appropriately, green. When I got the chance to sample the 2010 Muralhas de Moncao Rosé, I happily said yes! Another gem sent by my friend Luis at Vinos Unico. Much like the Urbanite Cellars Caliberico I wrote up, this is a reasonably priced, food-friendly wine that takes you in a different direction than you might normally drink.

Produced by a regional cooperative called Adega de Moncao. There about 1,700 member-growers farming about 1,200 hectares of vineyards without any irrigation. Around two acres of vines for each grower mean that they can devote their time to maximizing the grape quality. This particular cooperative is the single largest producer of the alvarinho grape (albarino across the river in Spain) within the Moncao sub-region.

So what's in the Muralhas de Moncao? It's a blend of alvarelhãopedral, and vinhao resulting in a gorgeous rosé-colored bottle of awesomeness. The wine sees no oak at all, fermentation takes place in large stainless steel tanks and there's also no malolactic fermentation either. The result is a purely fruit-driven wine retaining a beautifully accessible acid profile. I found some red berry notes; think sun warmed strawberries and raspberries, watermelon, and a hint of minerality on the finish. While this vinho verde does have bubbles, they're a lot smaller and milder than what you might find in a Champagne or Cava, lending to a softer mouthfeel compared to those sparkling wines.

I made vegetarian fajitas with the Muralhas de Moncao and the pairing was awesome. Bell peppers and onions sauteed in garlic, spices, and white wine. All of that inside a warm tortilla filled with cheese, then crisped in a pan. Home made guacamole on top (mine has some extra kick to it) and the meal worked out perfectly. Plus there wasn't a lot of cleanup afterwards, always a plus. Why is it that making a mess is great fun, yet cleaning up the mess seems like the most tedious task ever?

Luis told me that this wine currently isn't distributed in San Diego, and like the Caliberico, it's clear we are missing the boat on some superb, affordable summer wines. If you're looking for the 2010 Muralhas de Moncao Rosé, the best thing to do is contact Vinos Unico and ask them who carries it in your neighborhood. For us San Diegans, we must go to our local wine shops and ask for these wines! That is the only way the merchants will get them in stock especially if they haven't sampled or don't know about them. For those of you in Los Angeles and Orange County, you're in luck. Currently the retail is between $10 and $14, which nails the QPR.

There are so many reasons to try the 2010 Muralhas de Moncao Rosé and none to avoid it. Pick up a bottle or two and experiement with summer foods. I have a feeling you'll be surprised and happy.

This wine was a media sample for review purposes from Vinos Unico.

Beau Carufel

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