Monção e Melgaço: Making Unforgettable Wines!

Inside the historic Vinho Verde region of Portugal, in the northern most area is a territory making truly amazing wines. Portugal in general makes fantastic wines, but if you’re seeking white wines that will wow your palate, you will want to check out the region of Monção e Melgaço. This area is home to the best white wines in the country, and I had the pleasure of attending a lunch in Brooklyn, with Alexander Lapratt, who walked us through ten of the best whites!

We started with The Atrium Dumbo’s Seasonal Spring Green & Strawberry Salad with pistachios and a vegan strawberry dressing. It was delicious, sweet, crunchy, and salty, which was perfect pairing wise with the José Manuel Fernandes Encosta da Capela, who is one of the top producers. This 2019 Alvarinho is a great wine that really expresses it’s “sense of place” in that you get a lot of minerality and granite notes in the wine which comes from the soils. Alongside, we also paired the Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contacto 2020, which showed nice stone fruits and peaches, with great texture too. Both went extremely well with the salad, which was playful and texturally ideal with the two wines.

We then moved onto some more wines paired with a delicious Lioni’s Brooklyn Burrata with blistered heirloom tomatoes and shaved fennel. Alongside we enjoyed two more whites including the 2020 Carlos Alberto Codesso Dona Paterna and the 2019 Provam Portal do Fidalgo. The Codesso went beautifully with the burrata because of its freshness and playful acidity, but I also loved the Fidalgo with it too, because the fennel was a really nice compliment to the wine.

The Atrium Dumbo is a beautiful restaurant, about 7 minutes walking distance from the orange line. It was very easy to get to, and the food is just incredible! The wine list as well, is off the charts, and I highly recommend getting here for dinner if you can! For our Third Course we enjoyed Long Island Fluke Carpaccio, with citrus marinade, cilantro, ginger, birds eye chili, cucumber, and dill oil. The 2019 Luis Euclides Rodrigues Rebouca was my favorite wine with this delicious dish. The wine has honeyed grape flavors that really match well with the fresh fluke and dill oil. I also enjoyed the 2019 Soalheiro Granit because it shows the best expression of the granite soils from the region and compliments the cilantro and citrus marinade very much.

Our main dish was just excuisite, and it was Roasted Nova Scotia Wild Halibut with wild manila clams, crushed new potatoes, wild fennel, and saffron. It was creamy, comforting, and absolutely delicious with the 2017 Valados de Melgaço Alvarinho Reserva. I really loved tasting an older Alvarinho because it shows just how well they hold up. The saffron broth and fresh Halibut were just ideal with this wine, while the 2017 Adega de Monção Deu la Deu Reserva went beautifully with the fish and clams in the fish. Really two stunning reserva’s and this was just the perfect dish to pair.

Last but certainly not least we were served a delectable Strawberry Tart with caramelized puff pastry and vanilla cream. Paired with this was a 2019 Quinta do Regueiro Barricas which has beautiful acidity, stone fruit, and some honeyed notes. This is ideal with the strawberry tart, especially with the flaky pastry crust, and creamy vanilla cream; it was a sinfully delicious pairing!

This was honestly my first time trying Alvarinho from the Monção e Melgaço region. I don’t get to explore enough white wines of this caliber and I must say if you’re into the acidity of Sancerres, and also love stone fruit, juicy fruit gum, and peach notes, then you’ll absolutely want to give these wines a try!

Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love. Please pair responsibly!

About Sara Lehman

Sommelier, Private Chef, & Food and Wine Pairing Expert in NYC! Sara is a Wine Writer, Wine Ambassador, and Wine Consultant specializing in pairings, parties, entertaining and education.

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