I’m on a mission to raise the profile of Vinho Verde. I served it at my birthday party last month and it proved a perfect lunch time wine given its freshness and relatively low acidity. I served the Arca Nova from Quinta das Arcas supplied by Casa Leal. My tasting note can be found on Adegga.
This week saw the “The Boys are back in town” a trade event in London organised by the Vinho Verde Wine Commission CVRVV. There appears to be a renewed enthusiasm and interest in Vinho Verde amongst the trade and consumers and, with journalists such as Jamie Goode a real fan, then there is the beginning of a “buzz” about the wines with exports increasing by 11% from 2008 to 2010, no mean feat in today’s difficult economic conditions.
There were some really good wines at the event and it’s interesting that of the 15 producers at the event 7 are looking for UK representation. In my role as a Naked Wines Archangel I was keeping my eyes open for wines they could import and I did pass on two names whose wines I particularly enjoyed. When I talk about the wines I am restricting myself to the whites. There were some reds at the tasting which were not for me. The Portuguese can keep them for the moment
The web site belonging to the CVRVV is well worth checking out. I love Portugal having been to the Algarve several times and also to Lisbon. The Minho region which is where Vinho Verde comes from sounds gorgeous and the web site has a neat tool to allow you to plan a route between wineries where you can taste, vineyards you can visit interspersed with other tourist things to do. It even recommends places you can stay and you can build all this up into a map you can print off Google Maps giving directions and driving times. They really are making it easy for the wine lover to visit the region.
Much has been written already about The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye and although this a blog about wine I couldn’t let one of the best meals in my life pass by without adding my view on the place.
My view can be summed up in one word – stunning.
The sheer remoteness of the place and the anticipation that develops in the journey there all add to the sense of this being something special. Add to this the fact that I was being treated to dinner by my lovely wife as it was a VERY significant birthday for me just made the visit a real sense of occasion.
The location looking out onto Loch Dunvegan, the simplicity of the building itself (a croft) and the way it had been furnished right down to the black slate tableware, the quality of the food and the way it was all presented made this one of the two best meals in my life, the other being at a 3 star Michelin restaurant.
The menu was as follows:
Skye Lochs "Fruits de Mer" with Glendale organic Mesclun and Ferneyfold Farm Rapeseed Vinaigrette
Pressed Shoulder, Haggis and Roast Loin of Blackface Lamb with Pearl Barley, Husaboast Summer vegetables, Kale and Orbost Nettles
"The Hot Marmalade Pudding" with Drambuie Custard
The service was exemplary from a generally young staff. They explained every dish when it came placing emphasis on the locality of the ingredients. “Your langoustine has come from Loch Dunvegan which you can see through the window” being the best example. And I’ve learned a new word for Scrabble – a syboe is Scottish and looks like a miniature leek!
The sommelier was incredibly helpful. As this is a blog all about wine I ought to write down my detailed tasting notes but that would be to suggest that the wines were more important than the food. After all I’ve not given you a detailed tasting note for the food but suffice it to say I had a lovely glass of Montlouis with my starter, the Cairanne 2009 came from one of the best vintages in a while and the Muscat de Rivesaltes for the dessert reminded me of a 20 or 30 year old tawny port.
I can’t wait to go back. It’s a long way – Google says 11.5 hours if I’m driving from home – but it is absolutely worth it