Review: Quinta da Lixa Pouco Comum Alvarinho 2013
I recently wrote about a wine style that's perfect for the summer – Vinho Verde. However, there are other wines produced in the same area of Portugal that do not share this DOC (Denominação de Origem Controlada) classification. The Minho region covers the same area as Vinho Verde, but only around 4% of the total wine production carries the designation Vinho Regional Minho. The big difference between the two styles is that the latter is governed by less restrictive legislation, allowing for certain non-indigenous grape varieties excluded from the DOC regulations for Vinho Verde. These include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, but many others are also permitted.
Alvarinho is undoubtedly one of Northern Portugal's finest white grapes. Full-bodied and often complex, the resultant wines offer delicate, floral and fruity aromas with diverse characteristics, including peach, citrus, tropical fruit and jasmine, for example. Its Vinho Verde heartland is the sub-region of Monção and Melgaço. However, many excellent wines made from this grape variety carry a Vinho Regional Minho designation and one of these is described here.
Quinta da Lixa - Sociedade Agrícola, Lda. is an award-winning, family-run wine company from the Sousa sub-region of Vinho Verde, covering 52 hectares of vines spread across six estates. These include Quinta da Lixa, with its modern wine-making facilities, including offices, a shop and tasting room. The company has an ethical policy towards business practices, encompassing relationships with employees, customers and the wider environment. Indeed, as part of the European 'Wine in Moderation' program, Quinta da Lixa supports responsible consumption of alcohol within cultural and social norms. The company is currently present in 26 global markets.
Previously, I recommended two of their wines - Loureiro 2013 and Terras do Minho Touriga Nacional Rosé 2013 - but I was recently sent another of their wines to review. Pouco Comum Alvarinho 2013 is an example of a white Vinho Regional Minho, a style known for its typically crisp, fruity and floral character and this example is no exception. The colour is pale, bright yellowy-green. On the nose, notes of flowers, apple, cucumber, ripe melon and tropical fruit are evident, while on the palate, similar notes persist with a citrus and cucumber freshness present throughout, plus well-balanced, crisp acidity and a good finish. There is also a slight hint of sweetness due to the 12g/l sugar.
Successful food pairings for this refreshing 12.5% ABV wine would be fish (including smoked salmon, grilled sardines, sushi and pasta-based dishes), salads, white meat (including Portuguese-style roast or grilled chicken), BBQs and lightly spiced Asian dishes.
This wine is available in Europe and the US from selected retailers.
Vineyard image courtesy of the Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes (CVRVV).