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The Loureiro Grape


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About Loureiro

(Synonyms: Branco Redondos, Loureira, Loureiro Blanco, Marqués, Marquez)

Background

Map showing Loureiro areas of Portugal

Loureiro is a white-wine grape originating in the Iberian peninsula (most likely in the valley of the River Lima); it is today grown mostly in Portugal (in the Minho region, at the north of the land), but also in Spain (in the Galicia region, which adjoins Minho), where it is called “Loureira”.

It is not well known under its proper names, but is famous world-wide as the wine “Vinho Verde”. (The name “Vinho Verde” does not refer to the color of the wine, but to its freshness, in the sense that “green” means young; there are actually red “Vinho Verde” wines.) Vinho Verde wines are not all 100% Loureiro, and need not necessarily include any Loureiro at all: it is a “recommended” type for Vinho Verdes, but no particular grape is required (though there is a limited list of allowed grapes). That said, though, Loureiro is nearly universal as a good portion of white Vinho Verdes, and is not infrequently 100%. With the modern recognition of Loureiro as a premium—indeed, “noble”—grape, one sees more and more monovarietal bottlings expressly labelled as Loureiro.

(The phrase “Vinho Verde” can be confusing. While it is, as noted above, usually thought of as the name of a style of wine, it is actually the name of a particular wine-producing region, as set forth in Portugese wine laws: referring to a wine as “Vinho Verde” is analogous to referring to a wine as “Bordeaux”—you are referring to the place that produced it. Click this link for more details.)

Loureiro long suffered in reputation because the wines made from it were almost invariably quite inexpensive, and what is low in cost is rarely valued much. Vinho Verde wines were dismissively referred to as “summer sippers” or “poolside wines”. Now they may work well enough as such things, and certainly not every Loureiro-based wine is a wonder and a marvel; but well-made Loureiro wines—and there are a lot of them—definitely reward attention paid to them, and are definitely serious drinking.

The grape’s name derives from the name of the laurel bush, and its scent and flavor is indeed reminescent of laurel (think “bay leaf”)—indeed, “aggressively” flavored and scented in some cases (which is A Good Thing). It is distinctive and interesting. In addition to the dominant laurel quality, Loureiro wines usually also show both citrus and clear mineral flavors, making them quite a flavor package. Loureiro wines also typically exhibit keen acidity, giving them zest, plus making them good with many foods.

Some Loureiro-based wines exhibit a trace of petillance—a faint trace of “fizziness” from dissolved carbon dioxide. Traditionally that CO2 was a byproduct of the fermentation, but nowadays it is often deliberately injected to make a more “interesting” wine. Some like it, some don’t, and most don’t care much one way or the other. Just don’t be surprised by an occasionally sense of “spritz” in a Loureiro. (Some feel that adding a little CO2 reduces the chances of unwanted bottle oxidation, to which Loureiro is said to be prone.)

One does have to be wary of Vinho Verde that is made to conform to the popular image of a lightweight “sipper” (though even those are often quite flavorful); but with a little care, there is lots of fine enjoyment to be had. To repeat, then: Loureiro wines are often serious, excellent wines worthy of slow and careful imbibing.

Factoid: Loureiro is often called by misleading names, from Arinto to Moscatel. Caveat emptor.

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Some Descriptions of Loureiro Wines

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Some Loureiros to Try

(About this list.)

While there are lots of inexpensive Vinho Verde wines out there, by no means are all 100% Loureiro (or even necessarily dominated by Loureiro), so one has to have a care about reading labels. The few wines listed below seem to be the great majority of what is commonly available in monovarietal Loureiro bottlings that come well recommended.


Aphros Loureiro
(Not to be confused with their lower-alcohol “Aphros Ten” Loureiro, listed farther below.))

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Niepoort ”Dócil“ Loureiro

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Quinta do Ameal Loureiro

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Anselmo Mendes Loureiro “Eschola Muros Antigos”
(Do not confuse this with their “Muros Antigos Eschola” bottling: be sure you’re looking at their Loureiro “Muros Antigos Eschola” bottling.
 “Eschola” is an official designation for DOC/DOP and IGP wines with outstanding organoleptic characteristics as evaluated by a panel of the regional wine commission.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Aphros Ten Loureiro
(Not to be confused with their standard Loureiro bottling, listed above.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

We found no Loureiro bottling better enough than those listed above as to justify a “splurge” price.

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This page was last modified on Thursday, 16 January 2020, at 11:17 pm Pacific Time.