2009 Aphros "Silenus" Vinhão Vinho Verde
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Silenus (Aphros) is another monovarietal Vinhao from Aphros, this, however, aged for 9 months in French oak and with a point more in alcohol (13 here to 12 for the regular 2011). It is a very different animal than its younger sibling, fuller in body and far more civilized, although not quite as pure and “different.” The oak helps tame the acidity here, but there is some tension on the finish as well. It is a different and more mainstream view of what this grape can do, although still sometimes laced with acidity that gives it a certain “oaked Barbera” feel. This is quite nice, though, and with the right food match should draw its share of fans. I liked this more as it evolved. There were only 660 bottles produced. Drink now-2017.
Aphros wines are all produced from certified biodynamic grapes, in an area where farming this way, due to the humid climate, is not easy. Proprietor Vasco Croft is commited to biodynamics, and all of the Aphros wines are beautiful expressions of the terroir in the Lima sub-zone of Vinho Verde. A very serious expression of vinhao grapes, this beauty has a rich, spicy, Syrah-like aromatic profile. These scents carry over to the palate, full of black cherries and other dark fruits, with a suggestion of orange pekoe tea, and a pleasant steeped cardamom taste towards the finish. Given the terrific acid-driven structure of this wine, it will surely be exciting to see its development in bottle. A serious wine for the intrepid explorer of Portuguese wines.