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Adega de Monção Vinho Verde Escolha 2020
Very pale lemon-green colour, aromas of this Vinho Verde are clean and pure, recalling fresh limes and honeysuckle. Palate is light, zippy and fragrant – very energetic, with an attractive, enlivening spritz. This is a gloriously fresh white wine, with pithy acidity and a long, crisp finish.
Vinho Verde, Portugal
Adega de Moncao was founded by 25 grape growers in 1958. There are older co-operatives in the country, but few as well-adapted to making wine styles for the modern market as this one. The area under vine has grown steadily over the past 60+ years, and now there are 1,700 members who farm, between them, around 1,300 hectares. This makes the Adega de Moncao responsible for around half of all the Alvarinho grown in this region. It can reasonably claim that this part of the country is the original home of the grape and still the source of the best wines. The other significant white grape here is Trajadura. Red grapes are still important too, but they have significantly reduced in the last 30 years, and now represent less than a half of overall plantings. Sales of reds are limited to the Portuguese market or to Portuguese communities abroad.
Alvarinho is a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia (northwest Spain) and Northwest Portugal (Monção and Melgaço), where it is also used to make varietal white wines. Albariño is the Galician name for the grape; in Portugal it is known as Alvarinho, and sometimes as Cainho Branco. The grape is noted for its distinctive botanical aroma with a citrous undertone, very similar to that of Viognier, Gewurztraminer, and Petit Manseng, suggesting apricot and peach. The wine produced is unusually light, and generally high in acidity with alcohol levels of 11.5–12.5% and sime trapped CO2 that gives it a light sparkle.
The demarcated area for Vinho Verde D.O.C. fills the top left hand corner of the map of Portugal. The total area is enormous, stretching down from the Spanish border in the north down even further south than the Douro river. There are numerous different grape varieties in the whole area, and various sub-regions reflect the different growing conditions. Moncao e Melgaco is the most northerly, lying right on the Spanish border. There is less of an Atlantic influence here as we are a little inland, and the summers are hotter, and drier, than further down the coast. As a result Alvarinho thrives, and the Vinhos Verdes here have a bit more weight and ripeness and a bit less acidity. It is here that Alvarinho is most successful.
For hundreds of years, Albariño vines could be found growing around the trunks of poplar trees and in bushes along the outside margins of a field. A practice which some growers still use in Portugal's Vinho Verde region. However, in the middle of the century, the growers made big investments and became professional grape growers. In Vinho Verde, the vines are typically trained on high pergolas, which encourages over-cropping, often leading to grapes that are unable to exceed more than 8.5% potential alcohol. When grown in a vineyard, the vines need to be wire trained with large canopies to accommodate the 30 to 40 buds per vine that is typical. The grape responds well to the heat and humidity though the high yields and bunching of clusters usually keeps the grapes within the margins of ripeness.
Selection of the grapes. Extraction of the must (Pulp) from the 1st and 2nd pressings. Decantation (24hours at 14 C). Controlled fermentation between 18-20 C. Racking/Soutirage. Storage. Primary filtration. Cold stabilization by contact method. Soil filtration. Final filtration through membranes. Bottling.