In which loaves, fishes and wine coincide rather nicely
Cork's English Market is, many other things besides, a lively interactive soap opera where it's a privilege to have a walk-on part from time to time. As in any drama, some characters are more essential to the plot than others, and though we leave the hurling of rotten tomatoes to the greengrocers—in fact, we don't even boo or hiss much—we have our favourites like anyone else. It's thanks to one very welcome visitor to the shop that we now have a thrilling trio of Vinho Verde wines from Quinta de Gomariz to add to our list and to our Portuguese section. We took advantage of a collection from Portugal to stock up on the Maria Organic range of tinned fish, too, but that's for another article.
The wines you drink on holiday…
A few weeks ago, Declan Ryan (of Arbutus Bread
fame, Ireland's first Michelin star winner and interviewed here
by Caroline Hennessy) called in. He'd just got back from Portugal, where Mrs Declan was walking a stretch of the Camino—maybe this one
, which ends up in Vinho Verde country. Declan mentioned that he had enjoyed a really excellent glass of wine, a vinho verde, just before flying home; no, but really
We've been thinking about adding to our Portuguese wines for a while, so I asked him if he'd by any chance kept a note of what the wine was. Marvellous! He had written the name down, and I copied it for later investigation.
Around the world in eighty days
There followed a little bit of research, helped no end by some international phone calls between Portuguese-speaking Cleidi in the English Market shop and fast-moving export manager Tiago (we hope we'll see him in Cork before too long). Next came the arrival and tasting in unanimous admiration of a trio of samples. It's not often that they're all keepers. Finally, and eagerly, we sent an order for the zippy, zesty and thoroughly delicious Vinho Verde wines from Quinta de Gomariz that have arrived in Cork this week. You can see what Wine Anorak Jamie Goode thought of the winery and its wines here
on his relatively recent visit.
Introducing the wines: our new range of Vinho Verde
The three wines you can now buy from us, online or in our English Market and Marina shops, are all light, dry and aromatic whites. The distinctive gold and lime, chartreuse and yellow labels add a splash of colour to the shelves and make them hard to miss, while for wine-box spotters, the colourful, strong and secure outer packaging is a delight.
Quinta de Gomariz, Loureiro 2015
First up, in order of price, is the Loureiro—you have to try it! The grape gets its name from the laurel or bayleaf scent associated with the wines it yields. I must admit the tasting panel didn't especially chorus "Aha! bayleaves!", but the delicious blending of floral, citrus and herbal aromas certainly repays a good sniff, and for a relatively simple wine, on the palate this is a joyous thing indeed. Just what you want a glass of at the end of the week.
Quinta de Gomariz, Grande Escolha 2015
Next is the Grande Escolha
or Special Selection, closer to traditional Vinho Verdes because it's made from a blend of grapes including Loureiro, Alvarinho and Trajadura and also because this one, more than the other two, seems to have a very fine, spritzy, shimmer of effervescence about it. A little carbon dioxide is sometimes used to hold off oxidation and add a hint of a tingle. There's more of a crispy crunch to the blend than in the Loureiro, and the extra couple of euro gets you an even longer finish. This would be a cracking accompaniment to sushi, for instance, or any of the new selection of tinned fish from Portugal that arrived here at the same time as the wines. More about those, anon.
Quinta de Gomariz, Alvarinho 2015
And here's the Vinho Verde where it all began: the Alvarinho, which bears the legend 'Vinho Regional Minho' to remind us that, as elsewhere in the wine world, the producers of Vinho Verde would like recognition of their own very specific locality. The Quinta de Gomariz Alvarinho is a terrifically appealing wine from beginning to end, and it's not hard to see what appealed to the Ryans about this thrilling liquid. There's bright citrus freshness on the nose, with a softer, honey-ish, floral note, and in the mouth it's just as vivacious and juicy as you could hope for, before a long, long finish. Thank you Declan Ryan for a fantastic tip, not to mention all the great loaves from Midleton and Mahon Point markets…