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Portuguese, Serbian & Italian Tasting * Pt 2

I promised you that I would post the remaining six wines that were part of the Croatian & Portuguese Wine Tasting. If you missed that post, you could check it out by clicking on the link.

I still think about how much fun we had that evening. Going to wine tastings is the best way to broaden your palate and find new wines to add to your cellar or wine rack. These wines are amazingly affordable and were a big hit at the tasting.

Portuguese Wine: Avicella Rosé 2017, Vinho Verde

PortugueseThis classic Portuguese wine from Vinho Verde has slight carbonation and a beautifully fruity flavor. It is a blend of juice from three Portuguese indigenous varietals, Padeiro, Espadeiro, and Vinhão. This wine is one of the reddest rosés that you’ll see in the market.  It is a result of the inclusion of the Vinhão grape, which has the unusual characteristic of having not just red skin, but also red flesh – thus producing a very red color.   The winery is in the small town of Vizela in Portugal’s Vinho Verde region.  Grapes come from five estate vineyards in Vizela, which gives rise to the winery’s name, Cinco Quintas (which means “five estates”).

The carbonation in this wine occurs differently than how champagne or other sparkling wines are carbonated.  With champagne, the carbonation occurs during the purposeful, secondary fermentation that occurs in the bottle.  With Vinho Verde, the carbonation results from the wine being bottled before all of the CO2 has dissipated during primary fermentation.

When the group tasted this wine, there was a consensus that this is “summer porch wine.” It is refreshing and juicy with red fruits like strawberry, raspberry, and citrus. The carbonation along with the balanced acidity keep you wanting more. Low alcohol by volume of 12.5% makes it easy to sip all afternoon long. On the Topochines website, it sells for $12.00 per bottle.

Serbian Wine: Erdevik Rosé 2017, Fruška GoraSerbian Wine

Roza Nostra is the only Serbian wine sold at Topochines, and we were fortunate enough to serve it at the tasting.

For a point of reference, Serbia shares a border with Croatia. This border region is also the Fruška Gora appellation, which is home for this wine.  Serbia is also one of the countries formed when the Republic of Yugoslavia ceased to exist in 1992. The vineyards are in the town of Erdevik, where the winery took its name, in the foothills of the Fruška Gora mountains in the western part of the country. Vines have grown in the area since the 3rd Century.

This wine is considered an international rosé blend with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 20% Syrah.

The color of this wine is slightly darker than the classic Provencal rosé. The nose offers both strawberry and cherry flavors. It is medium bodied, with excellent balance. The palate follows through with pleasant acidity that presents especially tart at first sip but mellows moving forward. It has a fuller mouthfeel and a bit heavier than Provencal rosé, but it could become a crowd pleaser at your next party.

This rosé won a Silver Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2018. This wine sells for $19.00 at

Portuguese Wine: Avicella Alvarinho/Trajadura Blend 2017, Vinho Minho 

This Vinho Verde classic white wine is made from 40% indigenous grape Trajadura and 60% Alvarinho.  The Portuguese claim that this grape is native to Portugal but the Spanish believe the varietal originated in Spain (which of course they call Albariño).  The Vinho Minho appellation is the same as Vinho Verde but allows producers to include other grape varietals in their wines.   This wine is from the same producer as the Vinho Verde Rose, Cinco Quintas.  Unlike many Vinho Verde white wines, this Avicella brand delivers a sophisticated, structured, balanced wine – dry, mineral-driven, with a hint of salinity.

This wine is a light golden color. The Alvarinho and Trajadura contribute wonderful aromatics – citrus, apple, stonefruits, and minerality. On the palate, this wine has crisp acidity, a hint of saltiness, and significant body and smoothness thanks to the Trajadura.

I really liked this wine a lot. I love Alvarinho in general, and the addition of Trajadura gives this wine a boost in the body that I always enjoy in white wine.

This wine sells for $14.00 on the Topochines website.

Portuguese Wine: Quinta da Ponte Pedrinha, Touriga Nacional 2014, DãoPortuguese

Of the 250 or so indigenous grape varietals in Portugal, Touriga Nacional may be the most well-known internationally.  This grape originated in the Dão region, but fans of Port will know it as one of the grapes that are the backbone of every port wine made in the Douro region. 

This wine comes from Quinta de Ponte Pedrinha, which in Portuguese means Estate of the Stone Bridge.  The current winemaker is a woman following in her mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps before her.  Grapes were planted on their estate property three generations earlier, and today they lovingly tend to those old vines.  The winemaker lives on the estate with her husband and two children in the home that has been in the family since the 1800s.  No oak is used whatsoever in the aging of this wine; aging takes place in concrete tanks.

Tasting notes: This wine has a beautiful dark violet color. The aromas are of red fruits and a tad floral. On the palate, this wine presents blueberry, plum, blackberry, and cocoa mix with a hint of violet. Give this wine an hour to breathe to soften the tannins and a long and balanced finish.

This wine sells for $17.00 on the Topochines website.

Portuguese Wine: Quinta da Ponte Pedrinha, Vinhas Velhas 2007, Dão

The grapes used in this wine come from some of the oldest vines in the estate. These vineyards were planted when varietals were grown together, so no one knows precisely which varietals make up this blend. So they collectively call this wine “old vines.” Today, we might call it an Old Vine Field Blend.  

This wine comes from the same winery as the Touriga Nacional above.  At 12 years old this wine is not showing its age even a little bit. And like the Touriga Nacional there was no oak used.

It is a beautiful dark ruby. The aromas are striking and powerful. These include red and black fruits, earth, spice, a hint of leather. On the palate, stewed fruits, anise, cloves, and earth dominate. Tannins are firm as is the acidity, but the wine is very balanced. The finish is long and robust.

This wine sells for $19.00 on the Topochines website.


Italian Dessert Wine: The Vinum Il Dolce Moscato D’Asti 2016, PiedmontItalian dessert wine

This Moscato d’ Asti was a great wine to complete the tasting. It is always fun to end with something sweet.

Side Note: This is one of the more exciting dessert wines on the market as it is much lower in alcohol than port, sherry, and other sweet wines. At only 5.5% alcohol this wine contains lower alcohol than just about every IPA, porter, or stout beer for sale today.  Fun fact: the federal government defines a wine as having 7% or more alcohol.  So when the label for this wine was filed for approval as a “wine,” it was rejected.  Instead of being governed by the wine bureaucracy, it was regulated by the FDA as “food.” This is why there is a standard food label on the back of the bottle!

The winery that produces this wine is The Vinum, a husband and wife team that crafts wines from various wine regions across Italy.

Note quite a sparkling wine; this is known as a Frizzante. In Italian frizzante means crisp and I think that describes this wine perfectly. It is light straw yellow with a pleasantly frothy mousse of tiny bubbles. Incredible aromas of orange blossoms, white peaches and rose on the nose. Mouthwatering apricot and mineral flavors. Weightless, vibrant, refreshing.

Unfortunately, this wine is now sold out at least through, but if you find it elsewhere, I would snap it up.

That is all for now.




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