Vin­hão

Decanter - - READERS’ QUERIES - with Ju­lia Hard­ing MW

This re­mark­able dark­skinned va­ri­ety from the Minho re­gion of north­west Por­tu­gal pro­duces such deeply coloured wines it is of­ten mis­tak­enly de­scribed as a tein­turier va­ri­ety (one of the few that have coloured flesh). There’s so much colour in the skins that as soon as they are bro­ken in any way it seeps into the flesh. Although Vin­hão is best known in its home re­gion as red Vinho Verde, it is also planted un­der the name Sousão in the Douro Val­ley, of­ten in old-vine field blends made into Port. Quinta do Val­lado and Quinta do Vale da Ra­posa are un­usual in mak­ing an un­for­ti­fied 100% Sousão. The va­ri­ety has a rep­u­ta­tion for pro­duc­ing rus­tic wines high in tan­nin and acid­ity and with mod­er­ate al­co­hol but today there are some stun­ning, lightly pol­ished ex­am­ples which nev­er­the­less re­tain the va­ri­ety’s dis­tinc­tive wild berry char­ac­ter (el­der­ber­ries) that goes par­tic­u­larly well with pork dishes. It is also planted in Spain’s Gali­cia, where it is known as Sousón and gen­er­ally used in blends. Fur­ther afield, it is found to a lim­ited ex­tent in Cal­i­for­nia, South Africa and Aus­tralia, gen­er­ally to con­trib­ute fresh­ness to Port-style wines. From Minho try Aphros, Quinta da Palmir­inha, Quinta de Cara­peços and Quinta de Go­ma­riz. In Spain’s Valde­or­ras, try Quinta da Mu­radella. Wine Grapes by Jan­cis Robin­son MW, Ju­lia Hard­ing MW and José Vouil­lamoz; www.wine­grapes.org

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