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What our expert thought of Clip do Monte da Vaia, Loureiro, Vinho Verde




the tasting

The Tasting


As expected from this notably pale-skinned variety, the wine is the palest of lemon yellows. However, there’s no sign of the slight spritz associated with old-school Vinho Verde. No gimmicks here!
 
Fresh, floral and surprisingly complex, this has a lovely nose of honeysuckle laid over slightly pithy but sweet citrus, like crystallized lemons. I don’t get bay leaf, but there is definitely something green and herbal here, though with an oriental twist of anise: it’s thai basil. There’s a hint of white pepper too.
 
The palate is mouthwateringly crisp – and uncompromisingly dry, unlike the sweetened-up Vinhos Verde of old. It’s light-bodied but there’s plenty of pithy citrus fruit to balance the razor-sharp acidity: lemons and pink grapefruit, squeezed over rocks.
 
That mineral quality continues into the long, saline finish, which also has hints of peppery oriental spice. It’s quite dry, and less mouthwatering than expected: the acidity is front-loaded here. But the flavours are back-loaded; the finish has remarkable persistence, especially for such a light-bodied wine.


Assessment


The white pepper and green herbs remind me a little of Austrian Grüner Veltliner, while the light body and saline finish somewhat resemble a good Muscadet. But this wine has its own unmistakeable style: the razor-sharp freshness, fragrant floral nose and concentrated citrus fruit mark this out as the quintessential Vinho Verde.
 
Pedro and João set out to make an ‘extreme’ Loureiro, to showcase the qualities of this often-overlooked variety. I think they’ve succeeded brilliantly: this has terrific focus and precision while remaining really fun to drink. Different, distinctive and delightful, this wine just makes me smile.



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear palest lemon. No spritz.
Nose

Intensity medium+

Aromas floral (honeysuckle), sweet citrus (crystallized lemon), herbal (thai basil), white pepper

Development youthful
Palate

Sweetness very dry

Acidity high

Body light

Intensity medium+

Flavours pithy citrus (lemon, pink grapefruit), wet stones
Finish

Length long

Flavours as palate, dry and saline, peppery oriental spice
Other notes
Unoaked.


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