tasting notes: The Quinta das Arca "Arca Nova" Vinho Verde is mostly Loureiro (50%) and Arinto (40%) with 10% Trajadura. It comes in at 10.5% alcohol and 6 grams per liter of residual sugar. This is, in general terms, what people expect from the region: a bit of fizz, crisp, light and sunny, and maybe sometimes just a hint of sugar. The fizz here is not overdone and the sugar is modest, nicely balanced by the acidity. This classic style is very well-executed. At a nice price, it should make a lot of folks happy on a warm summer day. Needless to say, it is best drunk young, no matter how long it holds. Being young, fresh and exuberant is what it does best.
The Monteiro family owns four wine estates in Portugal, three in the Vinho Verde region and one in Alentejo. The family company, Quinta das Arcas was founded in 1985 by Antonio Esteves Monteiro and is headquartered in Vinho Verde. Whilst the family produces olive oil, brandy, liquor and cheese, their main business is wine – through Quinta das Arcas they produce Conde Villar and Tapada de Villar. The family’s holdings in Vinho Verde are in Valongo and Penafiel – 300 acres are planted to indigenous regional varietals.
Further south in Alentejo, their 150 acres in Herdade Penedo Gordo are planted with regional and international varietals. The white wines are made from fruit grown on a 74 acre parcel located in Galegos, Penafiel that is planted with Arinto, Espadeiro and Vinhao. The 20+ year old vines are situated at 492 feet and grow in a maritime climate which is influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean (only 20 miles away) and are planted on a combination of schist and black granite soils. The vineyards are farmed using the EPA’s Integrated Pest Management system – a process that eliminates pests using only natural methods – and after their first 3-5 years, the vines are dry farmed to encourage healthy roots. The red wines are from Alentenjo and are produced from 12+ year old vines planted on clay and schist soils.
Harvest at the Vinho Verde estates is done by hand and the grapes are destemmed before pressing. In Alentejo, a mechanical harvester destems the fruit, and the grapes are brought to the winery, which is located in the middle of the vineyards. The climate is very hot and very dry with temperatures rising to about 100°F at harvest.