Malvasia Fina Archives - Please The Palate
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My exploration into the Dão region continued. First it was about visiting a new wine region, then it was about the terroir and now I share the story of Luis Lourenço of Quinta dos Roques and Quinta das Maias who was one of the pioneers in the region to make single varietal wines. My story about the evolution from field blends to single varietal wines first ran in the Napa Valley Register and you can read it below here. Field blends were once common in the Old World. Families would plant more than one variety in the vineyard and did not really care about varieties or clones. Instead of considering the unique characteristics of each grape, the grapes were all treated the same way.
Red and white grapes were interplanted. All grapes were harvested at the same time and fermented together. The winemaker had no influence on the final wine blend. And, more than likely, while all the grapes were indigenous, the winemakers most likely did not know what grape varieties they had planted.
This story originally appeared in ATOD Magazine. Varietals of wine grapes are endless: Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, riesling, malbec, barbera, Nebbiolo, sangiovese, pinot grigio … and more! There are hundreds upon hundreds of wine grapes grown throughout the world. Most of those we’re familiar with come French or Italian grapes but have you ever heard of alvarinho, verdelho, malvasia, alicante, tinta roriz or touriga nacional? If not, we wanted to introduce you to some Portuguese wines making their way to more and more on wine lists at some of your favorite restaurants and wine bars. About the Region Portugal is located in the Iberian Peninsula in the southwest of Europe, bordered by Spain on one side and water on the other. It’s a small country, only 35,645 square miles (575 miles long by 138 miles wide), which makes it the same size as the states of Maine or Montana. That said, while Portugal may not be a big country, it has the ninth largest vineyard area in the world in comparison to the United States, which ranks sixth. Portugal is the ninth largest exporter to the United States, behind France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Germany. Twenty-five percent of what is exported are delicious fortified wines, Madeira and Port and seventy-five percent of the wine exported to the US from Portugal are still, dry wines. Portuguese Wines 101