The Taste of Central Portugal
Portugal is well known for its abundance of incredible wine that can be easily claimed to be one of the best in the world. And Encruzado happens to be one of them.
In addition to all the classic wine flavors, Portugal shines for its many special gems that can’t be found anywhere else:
- It’s one-and-only Port wine from the beautiful Douro Valley that boasts of a variety of impressive wineries and the most beautiful road in the world that goes along the magical Douro river passing a number of UNESCO world heritage sites;
- the blissful Vinho Verde (“green wine”) – young wine that tastes like no other wine in the world,
- and… Encruzado.
What is Encruzado wine?
Encruzado is indeed a true gem of Portugal. It is not as well known as the Port wine or Vinho Verde and not as popular among visitors, so… it’s a gem, and it’s hidden. 🙂
Encruzado is a white wine grape variety that originates mostly from the Dão region and has some exquisite characteristics and potential when it comes to such aspect as ageing.
This wine is also known as Salgueirinho. So let’s find out what’s so special about it.
When was Encruzado wine invented?
Locals say that the Encruzado was originated many centuries ago. They also say that name of the wine is derived from the Portuguese word “encruzado” that has the English meaning of “crossed” symbolizing the interlaced bunches of the grape.
And just like its more well-known brother – Port wine, Encruzado can only be grown in a specific area due to the nature of its region’s climate and soil.
What is the flavor profile of Encruzado wine?
Encruzado is famous for its distinctive flavor profile – often a harmonious balance between complexity and freshness of the grapes.
Pour yourself a glass of Encruzado, and you will immediately smell a whole bouquet of floral notes, a bit of citrus, stone fruits and pear.
The palate is complemented by almonds, tropical fruits flavors with some minerality.
However, it is the wine’s ability to maintain freshness while gracefully ageing and gaining richness of flavor, is what makes it special.
Unlike some other wines, Encruzado really shines after a few years in the bottle, making it a true prize for those who can wait to pop a bottle or two right away.
Where do Encruzado wine grapes grow?
Encruzado mostly comes from the Dão region in Portugal. And that area is known for its continental climate and granite soil.
Take that and add warm days and cool nights to the mixture, and you will get the perfect environment for preserving the aromatic combination of fruitness and acidity in the beautiful Encruzado wine.
I say “mostly” because Encruzado has already established itself in some other wine regions such as Bairrada, Tejo and Bucelas. However, those are customized to the regions and differ in the flavor palate of the wine.
So if you want to try the true Encruzado, you’ve got to visit Dão or at least make sure that the label on the bottle indicates it as the produce region.
What food does Encruzado wine pair well with?
This is my favorite part… because there is a wide range of dishes that pair well with Encruzado.
For seafood lovers
For poultry lovers
Chicken or turkey will really play with your taste buds when paired with Encruzado. Serve this wine with Lemon Butter Chicken and thank me later!
Encruzado works really good when mixing dishes, too, because the acidity that it has, really helps to clean the palate between the dishes.
Inspired for cooking with wine
And I don’t mean pouring wine into a dish… 😉
Here is what I am really looking forward to making when I get a bottle of Encruzado next time:
Recipes to go well with Encruzado Wine…
So excited! Which one will you try? Let me know in the comments below.
With so many different wine varieties, Encruzado truly stands out as a unique Portuguese treasure.
Once discovered, it will keep you tied to its abundance of flavor lost in the historical heritage of the Portuguese wine region Dão.
And that is what I call the perfect pairing when it comes to home cooking.