Casa do Valle Vinho Verde Branco Grande Escolha 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Casa do Valle is located near the legendary Cavez Bridge, a place often mentioned in the work of the famous Portuguese 19th-century writer Camilo Castelo Branco, and spreads out, protected by the mountain ranges of Barroso and Alvao, across the hillsides of the Tâmega River. The excellent exposure of the vines at this estate, located in the Basto sub region, along with rigorous selection in the vineyards and careful winemaking processes gives rise to wines of world-renowned quality.
Casa do Valle is the name of the manor house of the estate, which produces the Vinho Verde of the same name. Owned by the Sousa Botelho family, winemaking here dates back to the 18th century and features a mix of the ancient enforcado (tree-trained vines) and ramada (trellis) training systems for the red grapes and the modern single-wire training system for the white grapes.
The main noble grape varieties used for the white wines are the Alvarinho, Arinto, Azal and Loureiro. For red and rosé wines the grape varieties are Vinhao, the predominant red-grape variety of the Vinho Verde Region, Rabo de Ovelha, and Touriga Nacional. With a total area of 170 ha, of which 55 hectares are under vines, Casa do Valle is one of the largest production Quintas in the Vinho Verde Region, using exclusively grapes produced at the estate.
A cheerful, translucid, lemon-yellow and slightly pétillant white wine, Vinho Verde literally means ‘green wine’ and is named after the northwest Portugese region from which it originates. The ‘green’ in the name refers to the youthful state in which the wines are customarily released and consumed, not the color of the wine.
It is typically a blend of various percentages of Alvarinho, Loureiro, Trajadura, and Pedernã (Arinto). Following initial alcoholic fermentation, a natural, secondary malolactic conversion in cask produces carbon dioxide, giving Vinho Verde its charmingly light sparkle.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.