Espiral Vinho Verde

Espiral White Wine
Portugal – Vinho Verde
9% ABV
My Rating: 86 points
Trader Joe’s

There are many reasons why I love Espiral. Sure, this wine isn’t overly complex, and it probably isn’t winning any awards, but it’s crisp and refreshing and its under five dollars. Plus, it’s only 9% ABV, so Espiral is the perfect daytime sipper for the long, hot Texas summers. It’s on the lighter side, and wouldn’t pair well with anything heavier than a salad, but it pairs perfectly with summer and a pool. Although Vinho Verde literally translates as “green wine,” it is meant as “young wine,” and is meant to be consumed young.  Drink up while the weather is warm.

Pale straw, green apple, slightly effervescent
Pair with: salad, or drink on its own!

Recipe pairing:
Blackened Shrimp and Mango Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

From the winemaker:
“The wines of the Vinho Verde Region in Northern Portugal are characterized by their youth and freshness. Espiral is a refreshing, crisp, medium dry white wine made from selected natives grape varieties in from this region. It is great as an aperitif and pairs well with fish dishes and salads. Serve well chilled”

Pocas Vale de Cavalos Douro Red 2013

Pocas Vale de Cavalos Douro Red 2013
Portugal – Douro Valley
14% ABV
My Rating: 89 points

Portugal has long been famous for producing fantastic Ports, but red blends from Douro Valley can be exceptional values. These table wines are garnering quite a bit of attention from top wine raters (3 of the top 4 wines on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list in 2014 were from Portugal) and they are starting to show up at discount wine retailers. This wine is a great example; a 50% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo in Spain), 10% Tinta Barroca blend from Portugal, aged in American and French oak for 8 months, followed by a fining period in stainless steel. Grab a few bottles of this one to enjoy over the next few years.

Currants, blackberry, cherry, spiced oak. Dry with well integrated acidity and tannins.

Pair with: Perfectly Seared Steakhouse Steak, lamb, aged cheeses

From the winemaker:
“From the region of Douro Superior, and vinified at Quinta das Quartas, this lovely red embodies red fruit with a touch of balsamic and oak.
Produced with grapes from the Douro Superior region, this red wine embodies aromas of dark cherry fruit and a touch of spice. A parcel matured for eight months in French and American oak barrels. Enjoy with meat, an assortment of medium and full bodied cheeses, as well as wild game.”