In the past, Portugal has been known for its fortified wines. But that’s starting to change as the country’s other bottles gain popularity around the world, especially those from Vinho Verde. This famously green and lush region with granite soils is ideal for producing crisp white wines, many of which are very affordable. Here are some of our favorite picks.
Anselmo Mendes 2015 Curtimenta Alvarinho (Vinho Verde); $35, 94 points. This wood-aged, partially whole-bunch fermented wine is a complete unexpected departure for Vinho Verde. It has flavors of exotic fruits, a slight oxidative character and ripe spicy power. The wine has begun to lose some fruitiness but has gained great depth, toast flavors, almonds and a touch of nutmeg. This is an impressive wine that is ready to drink. Grape2Glass. Editors’ Choice. —Roger Voss
Anselmo Mendes 2016 Parcela Unica Alvarinho (Vinho Verde); $35, 93 points. As its name suggests, this wine comes from a single parcel of Alvarinho. Its richness and concentration is impressive. So are the apple, pear and citrus fruits that are now maturing into a ripe, spicy and nutty wine. At the end, the wine has a fine mature balance that makes it ready to drink. Grape2Glass. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
Provam 2016 Portal do Fidalgo Alvarinho (Vinho Verde); $15, 92 points. Pure Alvarinho from the northern Monção and Melgaço area of Vinho Verde, this is a fine wine. Its rich texture and creamy character are enhanced by the ripe apple and pepper flavors, both lifted by acidity. The wine could age further to bring out the wonderful richness. So drink now for bright fruit or wait until late 2019. Dionysos Imports Inc. Best Buy.—R.V.
Casa de Vilacetinho 2017 Superior Avesso-Alvarinho White (Vinho Verde); $11, 91 points. Smooth and ripe, this wine is still young but already showing intense fruits and structure. As it develops, ripe spice, peppered cream and quince flavors will develop further. Drink this fine wine from 2019. Santa Maria Imports. Best Buy. —R.V.
Quinta de Curvos 2017 Curvos Loureiro (Vinho Verde); $13, 90 points. From one of the top two varieties grown in Vinho Verde (the other is Alvarinho), this wine is fruity, packed with citrus, and with a zesty tight texture. The fruit is ripe while remaining cool and crisp. Drink this wine from late 2018. Regal Wine Imports Inc. Best Buy. —R.V.
Adega Cooperativa Ponte de Barca 2017 Estreia Reserva Alvarinho (Vinho Verde); $N/A, 90 points. Made from grapes sourced in Moncão and Melgaço, at the northern frontier of Portugal, this wine is rich with creamed apple character and rounded, full texture. Generous and ripe, it could age another few months. Drink from 2019. Wine Bridge Imports. —R.V.
Wines & Winemakers 2017 Maria Papoila Alvarinho-Loureiro White (Vinho Verde); $14, 89 points. This is a bone-dry and rich wine, with a warm, rounded texture that is cut by the intense acidity of the cool climate Vinho Verde region. It is perfumed, flavored with lime, green apples and juicy apricots. Drink this wine now. C & P Wines, LLC. Best Buy. —R.V.
Quinta da Raza 2017 Grande Escolha Alvarinho-Trajadura White (Vinho Verde); $17, 89 points. A light prickle on the tongue and ripe tropical fruits give this wine its lift and creamy character. It has great acidity while also relishing the ripeness of the 60% Alvarinho in the blend. The wine is ready to drink although it could age into 2019. Vintage Wine Marketing. —R.V.
Vercoope 2017 Pavão Alvarinho (Minho); $11, 87 points. This is a dry style of Vinho Verde, from one of the region’s top grape varieties. It is ripe, spicy and with a fine blend of apple and white-peach flavors. Drink this peacock (Pavão) wine now. Sarmento’s Imports. Best Buy. —R.V.