While Portugal has been making wine for centuries, the famous fortified wines of the Douro have garnered most of the attention in the US. Yet, with the modernization of winemaking and the influx of young blood into Portugal's wine scene, dry table wines have come to the forefront. Of these, Vinho Verde, the crisp, oft (slightly) effervescent wine made in the cool, rainy, verdant north west, is perhaps the best-known Portuguese value. The Vinho Verde DOC includes white, red and rosé made in a range of styles, and perfect for summertime drinking. From simple, fizzy and low alcohol, to laser-like, aromatic and racy, the whites are an exciting alternative to more popular European whites like Sancerre, Gruner Veltliner and Pinot Gris.
Quinta da Raza is owned and operated by Jose Diogo Teixeira Coelho, and his wife Mafalda. Their 40 hectare estate is located in the small village of Peneireiros in the Celorico de Basto sub-region of the appellation. The estate has been been in Jose Diogo’s family since the mid 1800’s, and up until his take-over in 1987, all the white grapes had previously been sold to the local cooperative, while their red wines were made on site. Today Quinta da Raza is one of the very few independent wine grower-producers in Vinho Verde. All their wines are made from only estate grapes, and farming practices are sustainable using natural and non-synthetic treatments, which is a difficult feat to achieve in a highly humid region. Their constant and careful vineyard management sets Quinta da Raza apart from the larger estates in the region.
One of the reasons Raza wines are so special is because of their location. The Celorico de Basto has a total of 5,618 acres and is the most inland of all the Vinho Verde sub-regions. Like the rest of the DOC the soils in Basto are granitic, but there is also clay and schist which is typically found in the neighboring Duoro region. The microclimate in Basto is created by the mountains in the west and the valley of the Tamega river which unlike the other rivers of the region runs Northeast to Southwest, protecting from the cool Atlantic winds. Basto enjoys less rain and more of a continental climate with greater temperature swings from day to night. The average altitude of Quinta da Raza is 250 meters, the best average altitude suited for growing wine grapes. The climate and soils here allow the sub-region’s native grapes, Azal, Padiero, and Vinhao, to thrive.
This rare 2017 is 100% Azal fermented and raised entirely in stainless steel. It is a naked and perfect expression of what this grape can offer: light- to medium-body, fragrant, juicy and delicate, with the nose showing aromas of crushed rock, mouthwatering citrus, fresh herbs and plenty of green apple zip. The best Vinho Verde has an acid profile similar to Chablis, and the Dom Diogo delivers plenty in a charming and refreshing style. This lovable white begs for beach trips and all types of seafood.