Sommeliers Speak Vinho Verde: Introducing Sommelier Erik Larkee

Sommelier Erik Larkee, the Beverage Director for Michael’s Genuine Hospitality Group, shares his thoughts on why Vinho Verde is a great addition to any restaurants wine list for our Sommeliers Speak Vinho Verde series. Join the conversation using the hashtag #SommsSpeakVV!



Q: When building a wine list, why should sommeliers consider Vinho Verde?

A: Value and Variation. The wines drink above their price point and the styles of Alvarinho can add depth to an Albariño selection.

If you’ve only tried the blends from Vinho Verde, we suggest you try the single varietal wines from the region. If you like the Spanish Albariños we suggest you try the single varietal Alvarinho from Vinho Verde. It’s the same grape!

Domesticate ME!’s Recipe for a Healthy Holiday

“So, yeah. I’m aware that this isn’t the most “seasonally appropriate” post, but you know I like to buck convention. Plus, I’m working an important angle here. As tempting as it is to consume primarily cheese, chocolate, and bourbon from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, it’s best to be a responsible human being and balance one’s indulgences with some good, nourishing meals. And that, friends, is where this delightful superfood salad comes in. #breaktheinternet

This salad tastes like I want to feel during the holiday season: light, bright, and just a little bit spicy. The salad itself is a smorgasbord of color and texture, and the foolproof broiled salmon pracspicy-asian-salmon-salad-vinho-verdetically melts in your mouth, but it’s the dressing that’s the real star here. Semisweet with a solid kick, you’re going to want to douse anything and everything in the umami-flavored awesomeness. And you should. (It does double duty as salad dressing and fish marinade in this recipe, but it would also be great on everything from soba noodles to roasted cauliflower. Just throwing that out there.)

If you’re not a salmon fan, feel free to apply this recipe’s easy broiling technique to your favorite firm white fish, or sub chicken cutlets or flank steak for the salmon, and cook the meat in a grill pan or cast iron skillet. Vegetarians and vegans, definitely try this with tofu or seitan if you like. You must always do you.

Given that it’s Vinho Verde Month here on Domesticate ME!, I created this recipe to pair with one of my favorite Vinho Verde Wines, the Afectus Loureiro 2015. What I’ve come to love most about Vinho Verde whites is that their great acidity and light body make them the perfect accompaniment to meals that are notoriously tricky to pair with wine, especially Asian-inspired dishes that are heavy on the spice. A chilled glass of the refreshing, citrusy Afectus Loureiro balances the sriracha-induced heat in this salad, and better yet, it transforms the entire meal into a celebration.

So get thee to the grocery market and wine shop, and share this salad and a bottle of Vinho Verde with the people you love. ‘Tis the season, after all.” – Domesticate ME!

Get the recipe and other amazing tidbits from Domesticate ME! here:


Vinho Verde in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Lists

Wine Enthusiast has included several Vinho Verde wines in their Top 100 of 2016 and Top 100 Best Buys of 2016:

Top 100 of 2016 includes #56 – Provam Portal do Fidalgo Alvarinho 2015, 92 points

Read full review here

Top 100 Best Buys of 2016 includes:
#3 – Aveleda 2015 Quinta da Aveleda, 90 points
Full review here
#19 – J Portugal Ramos 2015 Loureiro, 88 points
Full review here
#63 – Provam 2015 Varanda do Conde White, 89 points
Full review here

Sommeliers Speak Vinho Verde: Introducing Sommelier Chris Horn

The second Sommelier in our Sommeliers Speak Vinho Verde series is Chris Horn, the Wine Director at Purple Café & Wine Bar in Seattle, Washington. Join the conversation using the hashtag #SommsSpeakVV!


Q: Why is Seattle a good market for Vinho Verde?

A: Because we like oysters and seafood. The cuisine of Vinho Verde and the Pacific Northwest share a lot of flavor profiles.

Q: When do you recommend Vinho Verde to your patrons? Any favorite pairings?
A: It’s a good aperitif wine to start the evening. I like it with ceviche.


Check out this easy ceviche recipe from Kitchy Kitchen and see for yourself why Chris Horn recommends this food and wine pairing:

Domesticate ME!’s Holiday Entertaining Roundup

The holidays are upon us and of course you know what that means – holiday parties! Domesticate ME! shares her favorite recipes and drinks to take your next holiday gathering up a notch.


“The holiday season is in full swing, people, and it’s officially party time.

After years of hosting the annual Logena Christmas party, it’s safe to say I’ve learned a thing or two about holiday entertaining. Most importantly, people love finger food, and they will always imbibe more than you expect. And since a successful soirée is 90% preparation, 10% perspiration, it’s important to be a planner.

When it comes to your menu, keep it simple and festive, and try to choose recipes that can be at least partially prepped well in advance. During football parties, I don’t mind being trapped in the kitchen churning out Buffalo fingies and other hot dishes throughout the event (you know I hate the foose), but during the holidays, I want to be in the thick of things. A few short stints at the stove are fine, but for the most part, I aim to be hanging with my friends and family as much as humanly possible.

Assuming you feel the same, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite food and drinks to minimize stress and maximize fun at your holiday extravaganzas. Happy hosting, friends!

In addition to snacks and batch cocktails, you will definitely be requiring wine for your holiday extravaganzas, and I’ve got some excellent recs. As I mentioned Friday, I’m currently loving Vinho Verde wines for their versatility (seriously, they pair well with almost everything) and price point. And the latter is key when it comes to supplying a crowd—you want to serve good wine, but you don’t want to break the bank, right? Vinho Verde has you covered.

There are a variety of whites, reds, and rosés to choose from, but if you’re in the market for a crowd-pleasing bottle, I’d go with the Casa de Vilacetinho Arinto 2015. It’s vibrant and fruity without being too sweet, and it complements all manner of small bites. I’ve gone through multiple bottles over the past few weeks with enthusiastic help from friends and family, so I’m going to need you to get on my level…” – Domesticate ME!


Read the full blog post and find the recipe details here:

It’s Casual Friday from Domesticate ME!

This December, Wines of Vinho Verde has partnered with Domesticate ME to bring you mouthwatering food & wine pairings and holiday tips. Today’s all about keeping it casual. For easy and delicious finger food, Serena made a Butternut Squash Crostini and paired it with a glass of Vinho Verde. See an excerpt below!


“TGICasual Friday, friends! We have badass finger food and all kinds of exciting internet things to chat about today, so let’s get right to it.

First order of business: Butternut Squash Crostini with Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate. These sassy little numbers are one of my favorite bites in recent memory—and given last week’s epic T-Day feast, that’s saying a lot. A LOT, dammit. The flavors of sweet and savory butternut squash, earthy Brussels sprouts, and sweet-tart pomegranate are a match made in holiday heaven, but to really do this recipe justice, I feel the need to break things down for you layer by insanely delicious layer.

Starting with the butternut squash puree! Cubed squash gets tossed with a little olive oil, cinnamon, and salt, roasted until tender and lightly caramelized, then blitzed with creamy ricotta to fluffy, spreadable perfection. (I like to go all out and use a whole milk Buffalo ricotta, but calorie counters may use skim ricotta if they must.) That silky madness is slathered on crisped slices of seeded baguette and topped with a petite mound of shaved and lightly charred Brussels sprouts. Each crostini is finished with a few juicy pomegranate arils and BOOM. Teeny-tiny bites of heaven.

Flavor fireworks excluded, what I love most about this recipe is that each element can be fully prepped in advance (puree made, sprouts sautéed, pomegranate seeded, and baguette toasted), so that all you’ll have to do come party time is assemble the crostini. And assembly shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes, max, even after the requisite pre-party glass of vino. WHOOP.

Speaking of vino, you know I’ve been looking to up my wine game these days, and I’m very excited to announce that December will be Vinho Verde Month on Domesticate ME! Vinho Verde is a well-known wine-producing region in northwest Portugal, and it produces some fabulous wines that I’ve had the pleasure of learning about and tasting of late. There’s been a real quality revolution in the region over the past few decades, which has translated to some exciting varietal (aka single grape) wines in addition to the traditional blended styles that Vinho Verde is famous for, and I’m very excited to help spread the word.

The most notable thing about these wines is that they’re incredibly versatile. Their refreshing acidity and light body means that they pair well with a wide variety of cuisines, including those tricky ones that are big on spice and heat (i.e. Asian and Mexican). I have a feeling you’ll share my Vinho Verde obsession—especially since the wines really over deliver for their very approachable price—and I can’t wait to share some of my favorite bottles and recipe pairings over the next few weeks. We’re all going to be fancy wine experts!!

p.s. This crostini would be delightful with any Vinho Verde wine, but I’m partial to the Quinta da Lixa Pouco Comum Alvarinho 2015. It’s light and fruity nature plays very well with the sweetness of the butternut and pomegranate.” – Domesticate ME

For more on Domesticate ME and the full recipe plus other fun tips for Casual Friday, check out the full blog post:

Sommeliers Speak Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde Wines has worked with several great sommeliers and chefs in the past few years. Follow our series, Sommeliers Speak Vinho Verde, as we highlight what they have to say about and pair with the wines of Vinho Verde. Join the conversation using the hashtag #SommsSpeakVV.

We sat down with Sommelier Eugenio Jardim @myprivatesomm and asked:

Q: When building a wine list, why should sommeliers consider Vinho Verde?

A: They offer the consumers a breath of fresh air in a wine world becoming very homogenized. Wines from Vinho Verde are particularly appealing to sommeliers because of two main factors; their super-high price quality ratio and their uncanny ability to elevate many culinary styles with their freshness.


Destination Wineries

What’s the next wine destination on your list? Jessica Colley Clarke has some suggestions for you. In her recent article in Departures Magazine, she recommends a visit to Quinta da Aveleda in Vinho Verde. In addition to the enjoying the great quality wines, the winery “offers exposure to the winemaking process, beginning with tours of the estate vineyards on foot or by tractor.”


Read more about the exquisite gardens and other special winery experience in the full article!

Wine Spectator: Portugal’s White Wines Surge in Quality

In September, Kim Marcus of Wine Spectator turned his attention to some of Portugal’s great white wines, including Vinho Verde. Kim says “Alvarinho has traditionally been a component in the light and spritzy blends from the Vinho Verde appellation, which lies north and west of the Douro. Quality in Vinho Verde has improved over the past decade, as vintners have modernized grapegrowing and cellar practices, benefiting both blends and varietal bottlings.” Several Vinho Verde wines are recommended in this article.

Subscribers can read more here

Download the article here: breaking-the-mold-_-tasting-reports-_-news-features-_-wine-spectator

The Perfect Pairing: Clams and Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde, the bright, fragrant, wine from Portugal is an ideal partner for any seafood dinner. Food & Wine magazine highlights the wine in this deliciously simple Littleneck Clams Steamed in Vinho Verde recipe created by Abraham Conlon from Fat Rice in Chicago. Conlon uses Vinho Verde to add a “bright, delicious flavor to his briny clams.” Not to mention the wine you use in the recipe is great to drink along side the clams at dinner!


Sound good to you? Find the recipe here: