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Archive for the ‘Portugal’ Category

Vinho Verde: Dom Diogo Padeiro from Quinta da Raza

Dom Diogo Padeiro from Quinta da Raza

Even though it’s designated as a “Vinho Verde”, the Dom Diogo Padeiro from Quinta da Raza is not green or even white – it’s pink!

The Minho province is home to the crisp, dry white Vinho Verde we love to sip in the summertime, but folks there also make pink and red wines from local grapes. Most Vinho Verde rosé is mass-produced, simple and refreshing but not all that interesting. Quinta da Raza is a small winery run by Jose Diogo Teixeria and his wife Mafalda. The winery has been in Jose’s family since the 1800s. The climate and soil in this area are unique in the Vinho Verde, as the soils are rich with granite and schist, and there is less rainfall and more sun than in other Vinho Verde sub-zones. Jose farms organically, growing his grapes for quality, and his wines are more complex than most Vinho Verdes. They are also also more expensive than most, but at $11.95 a bottle for the rosé and $9.95 for the white that’s not really saying much. There are two grapes commonly used in in Vinho Verde rosé but Jose uses just one: Padeiro. Padeiro is an early-ripening grape with a wonderful aroma of ripe, red cherries.

Like his white Vinho Verde, this rosé has a perky little effervescence. From the dark color you can tell that there’s a good amount of body to this wine. It’s not sweet, but it has a ripe fruitiness reminiscent of cherries, plums and berries. Despite a rich body the abundant acidity and fizz make for a clean, refreshing finish.

Sip this tasty rose on the last warm days of summer, preferably outdoors in the sunshine! It’s fine as an aperitif on its own, but makes a great food wine as well. The combination of fruit and acidity here makes the Jose’s rosé a great companion to classic American cook-out foods like grilled burgers and dogs, creamy potato salad and coleslaw.

Julie Cappellano is the General Manager and Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen South End, Boston.

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The Sintra Coastline

The Sintra coastline

Like everything born of Sintra, the Arenae Colares Malvasia is of and from the sea.

I had the good fortune to spend several weeks last summer exploring Lisbon and its surrounding environs, including an unforgettable day in Sintra, guided by two friends of mine who grew up there.

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Quinta do Infantado Tawny PortPorto, or “port” as it is known in English, is made in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal. There are many grapes port-makers are allowed to use, but the most common are Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Touriga Francesca and Touriga Nacional.

Port was a byproduct of the ongoing wars between France and England. Without wines from France, the English were forced to look elsewhere to satisfy demand. Portugal provided a good alternative, but the long boat trip from Portugal often resulted in spoiled wine. To combat spoilage, winemakers began adding high-alcohol aguardente to their wines to stop fermentation, leaving a more sturdy, higher alcohol wine with some residual sugar. These new fortified wines could make the trip no problem! (more…)

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Azeitão Tasting

Azeitão Tasting

As a lover of all things Portuguese for many years, I have been working to build the selection of Portuguese cheeses here at our Cambridge location. In the past, we’ve had a few varieties at a time, but this is the first time we’ve had as large a selection as this, and I’m very excited about them all. Here’s the lowdown on the line-up! (more…)

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Ameixas d'Elvas plumsWhen is a plum not a plum? When it is a sugarplum or a plum pudding! Judging by the names of these traditional British Christmas treats, one would think that both include some quantity of plum. Not true! For centuries, the term ‘sugarplum’ has referred to any type of dried fruit, made into a small, vaguely plum-shaped sweet. During Victorian times, these sugary candies sometimes contained raisins or currants which were called plums.

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Membrillo, quince paste, cotognata, marmeladaIf you love cheese, you’ve likely come across the sweet, tangy condiment called membrillo. Membrillo is the Spanish word for the quince fruit and is commonly used to refer to the sweet quince paste also known as cotognata in Italian and marmelada in Portuguese. Even though recipes vary, quince and sugar — cooked to a thick consistency, molded and cooled — are the primary ingredients. The resulting quince paste is a traditional accompaniment to many cheeses including the famous Manchego.

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