Last week I participated in a The Drinks Business panel discussion - the subject – “Vinho Verde: communicating the quality revolution.”
Enter Vinho Verde in this site’s search engine and you’ll find there’s lots to excite about this northern Portugal region. But aside from the burden of its reputation for cheap as chips wines, an issue quick to surface was Portugal’s general lack of profile, especially on the food scene.
It’s a great shame because Vinho Verde, indeed most Portuguese wines, work brilliantly with food thanks to their edge of acidity and tannin. Petiscos (Portuguese snacks) like bacalao (salt cod) fritters and sweet and succulent shrimp pastries (like those pictured at my recent Anselmo Mendes’ tasting) are perfect Vinho Verde fare.
Perhaps the Vinho Verde Comissao or ViniPortugal can be persuaded to host some pop up petiscos’ joints to spread the word? It’s certainly a great way to tempt people off the beaten track, as I discovered this month at a couple of great tapas bars, both new to me.
At El Gato Negro Tapas, Ripponden, West Yorkshire my folks were well impressed with the honey and citrus nuanced Bodega Gotica Badajo Verdejo 2011 from Spain’s Rueda region (sold by Iberian specialists Halifax Wine Company for £7.95). It went down a treat with El Gato’s particularly superb fish dishes, especially the monkfish tails with paella, both fish and rice striking the right balance between firm and yielding. Flash fried gambas were also zingily fresh.
Similarly, at my new(ish) local tapas bar, Trangallan Gastro-cultural, my neighbours loved the floral and frisky 2010 Pazo de Mariñan Godello (particularly fine with a not so Spanish sashimi of scallop with fennel puree) and discovered the delights of “proper sherries” (I quote the menu), notably Lustau’s Don Nuño Oloroso.
So Portugal, c’mon – pop up petiscos this way please!