Vihna do Monte
- Strawberry, grape
- Mild; dark berry; fruity
- Mild, very little tannin
It’s really a loss that we overlook Portugal. They ruled the seas for two centuries, founded the largest South American country, make fantastic sandwich bread, and make quality inexpensive wines. The Romans—Italians!—thought that Portuguese wine was the best in the world, and Port wine is named after Porto, literally the port, where the wine was shipped out to the rest of the world. Melba is quite a fan of Vinho Verde, and Mrs. Ferment just picked up a bottle of table red called Vihna do Monte. It’s a nice, crisp, mildly tannin’d bottle of red. And it cost $8. My wife, she finds the deals.
Portugal, by the way, was not named after Porto (or vise-versa), but by a different ancient port city, Portus Cale. Say it quickly and you’ll see why. There’s a theory that Cale was named by the Celts in the area long, long ago. To the Celts, cala means port, so the Romans may have inadvertently named the city Port Port. If I ever ran the world, most things would be named like this, and my address would be 123 Street Blvd. crossing Avenue Rd. in Townsville.
Table wines are made of multiple grape varietals, and the vintners choose the grapes to achieve a pleasant balance of flavor while avoiding the extremes of specific grapes. As much I like the Syrah grape, it can get leathery. I know I’m not a connoisseur because I don’t like leather or pencil shavings in my wine. So table wines, humble and unpretentious, are usually easy to drink, if not necessarily memorable. The Vihna do Monte is actually memorable, though, because it’s inexpensive and very tasty. I haven’t had a bad Portuguese wine yet, and Vihna do Monte continues the county’s proud winning-streak.