A Portuguese Sparkling Wine to Pair With Cured Meat, Cheese, Octopus, and More

May 16, 2012

When a dizzying array of dishes emerge from a kitchen including cured meat, cheese, octopus, and fava beans, what wine do you reach for? It's pretty easy to make the call for a sparkling wine, and I was intrigued to see one on ice at lunch today while visiting Herdade do Esporão in Portugal as part of a press trip I was invited to attend. I'm very familiar with the fizzy charms of many Vinho Verdes from Portugal, but a seriously-made sparkling wine was a surprise to see.

portuguese wine esporao

This vintage-dated sparkler is a blend of the new-to-me Antão Vaz and the more familiar Verdelho grapes. Coming in directly from the 90-degree weather certainly added to the instant appeal of the Herdade do Esporão, and the wine was also extremely refreshing between multiple trips to and from plates of meat and cheese. It really worked well with a fantastically tender octopus, the left member of this trio.

portuguese wine pairing esporao

Though I thoroughly enjoyed a couple white and red wines after that, and also a very cool Late Harvest Semillon (a sweet dessert wine) that was surprisingly excellent with cheese, I can't help but recall the versatility of the sparkling wine. And as I looked out across the vineyard after lunch, surveying the view, one thought came to mind: Bubbles win again.

portuguese wine tasting

I am an invited guest of Esporão who is the sponsor of this press trip.

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