Arcos do Rei "Íssimo" Blanc de Noirs Espumante Bruto 2013
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Portugal is one of the most under-appreciated wine regions in western Europe, and a source for super satisfying, ultra- drinkable wines across all styles. Whether it's crisp seaside whites, powerful reds, or fascinating sparkling, Portugal has something for everyone.
Enter this bruto espumante from Arcos do Rei, a family-run affair based in Bairrada, a region known mostly for deeply colored reds from Baga, a grape indigenous to Portugal. Here, Arcos do Rei takes that red grape – Baga – and presses it quickly to eschew any color, crafted in the método tradicional, AKA the traditional method, the very same as Champagne.
From the 2013 vintage, it's still showing breezy and lemony-fresh on the nose, with sea spray, almond, lemon balm, and orange peel. The palate comes in just as fresh, with some deeper, tropical fruity notes (this IS from a red grape, after all!) and lovely roasted notes of toasted macadamia, lemon curd, and coppery richness. Backbone, acidity, richness, a clean dry finish – we couldn't ask for more in our bubbles.
So much care and quality went into making this wine it's absurd, especially at $25. It's a single vintage, from organic vineyards, and was aged for a jaw-dropping 48 months before release. There are millennia of history here – the region has been planted to grapes for at least 500 years and has links to the Knights Templar, Freemasons, and Rosicrucians. Ancient alchemists revered fermentation and wine featured heavily in their practices – I couldn't help but picturing preserved aqueducts and ancient rituals in sipping this amazing wine.
We paired it recently with curry-spiced, cast-iron-fried chicken with a feta-chick pea salad and were in heaven. Go bold in pairing with this wine or simply sip it on a balmy weekend afternoon. Crazy good, and available only here!
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