May 3rd-Viosinho

Viosinho is a white grape thought to be indigenous to the northern Portugal region of Douro, the same region where the fortified wine Port originates. The grape is believed to have a lengthy history due to the amount of variation found when genetic testing was conducted. This aromatic grape variety can be difficult to work with, both in the vineyard and in the winery. The vines have low yields of small berry bunches that are prone to fungal diseases. Once they are harvested, careful handling is essential to retain its aromatic character. If this is achieved, it has potential to make wines that strike a balance between their pronounced fruit character, full body and significant acidity.  It can be used in the production of varietal wines or as a blending component (sometimes in white Port). Portugal has a significant number of vineyards that are planted as field blends, meaning they contain an unspecified amount of multiple indigenous grape varieties. These grapes are then harvested at the same time and processed together, creating field blended wines. To date, virtually all plantings of Viosinho are still within the borders of Portuguese territories, including the Azores. With increased interest in the grape, it would be unsurprising to see plantings increase internationally.

This week, I tasted a 2020 Quinta da Côrte Vinho Branco from Douro DOC. This bottle was 100% Viosinho from their terraced vineyards in the Cima Corgo appellation within the Douro. The wine was a pale lemon color with a viscosity that coated to the bowl of the goblet. Aromas of honeysuckle, orange blossoms, white grapefruit juice, ripe white peaches, smoke, and wet stone jumped from the glass. On the palate, there was a perceptible amount of sugar but well balanced by the acidity. The sugar content, while being noticeable, was not enough to elevate the wine from being dry to off dry. This wine exhibited a full bodied creaminess with a significant level of alcohol (labeled at 13.5% but feels closer to 14-14.5%). The notes on the palate were even more complex than those detected on the nose. The flavors of white grapefruit, honeysuckle, smoke, white peaches, and wet stone were combined with butter, vanilla, nutmeg, and baked apple on the prolonged finish. This wine was delicious and will continue to increase in complexity with time, if I can keep it around that long. Ideal food pairings for it would include crab cakes, paella, and traditional fettuccine alfredo.


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