</td></tr></table>Quinta do Feital 2002 "Dorado" Moncão Vinho Verde Alvarinho ($22.99)
A modern, upscale take on Portuguese Vinho Verde made by a Spanish producer who crossed the river from Rias Baixas in Galicia to make wine on both sides of the Spanish-Portuguese border, it's Vinho Verde in the new style, hearty and full-bodied, aged on its yeast sediment (lees) to add richness and complexity of flavor. It shows a clear straw color with a golden hue. Peaches and minty fresh herbal scents come together in a complex, appealing aroma. Mouth-filling and full, ripe flavors follow the nose, with good acidic structure and a whiff of spice. Very fine wine, although it's a far cry from the standard light and frothy Vinho Verde. U.S. importer: Vieux Vins Inc., Vineburg, Calif.; The Rare Wine Co. (March 24, 2006)
Portuguese or Spanish, Alvarinho or Albariño, either way these aromatic whites are made for seafood and fish. This wine's body and structure brought it up to a more robust fish dinner, fresh cod cut in bite-size chunks, quickly sauteed in a skillet of home fries and onions scented with homeopathic dashes of cumin and Asian "five spice."
The $20-plus price almost gave me a nosebleed, but the wine is persuasive: This is no mere shellfish quaffer.
WHEN TO DRINK:
The conventional wisdom on Vinho Verde is that it should be drunk up so young that it's hardly worth exporting. This robust and full-bodied style, however, might justify an experiment in cellaring simply to see what happens. You won't go wrong, though, by buying and drinking it young.
This English-language importer fact sheet offers good background on Quinta do Feital
, along with a downloadable Adobe PDF tech sheet.
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