Asnella (Single Vineyard)
Asnella is a single vineyard Vinho Verde that exposes an unexplored side of the Vinho Verde DOC. In addition to the delicious, lightly effervescent aperitif-style wines that are most frequently exported from this part of Northern Portugual, there is a whole category of terroir-driven, artisan wines that has heretofore gone unnoticed. The vineyard where Asnella is grown is on the border between the Southern side of the Vinho Verde DOC and the Northern edge of the Douro. This vineyard a fault line that separates two very different soil types – the schist of the Northern Douro and the granite of the Douro, as noted on either side of the label. The blend of these two parcels in the vineyard imbues the wine with a profound minerality and weight uncommon for Vinho Verde.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Asnella is a singular expression of terroir that is a major departure from what most people associate with Vinho Verde. It shows remarkable concentration, length and minerality. This unique vineyard allows for an exposition of two different soil types and their effects on the resultant wine. The granite lends richness and weight, while the schist gives minerality, lift and precision.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 88+IWR
GRAPE: 60% Arinto, 40% Loureiro. Sustainably farmed vines planted in 1992 in schist and granite soil at 350m (1,148 ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: The flinty minerality and bright fruit on the Asnella make it an ideal pair for oysters, as well as shrimp, clams, mussels and other seafood. The clean flavors of east Asian cuisine are a particularly good pairing.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 6 months in stainless steel tanks
PRODUCTION: 340 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The Asnella vineyard, for which the wine is named, is located in the southern part of the DOC in the subregion of Basto, where it straddles a fault line separating two distinct soil types – schist and granite. The climate is Atlantic, with a cool growing season and significant annual rainfall (1200 mm on average).
TASTING NOTES: Brilliant green-yellow. On the nose, lime zest, green apple, wet stone, and white pepper notes that are almost reminiscent of a Federspiel level Gruner. The palate is clean, concentrated, and incisive, with dry citrus and unripe pear followed by flavors of tarragon, slate and white pepper.