Loureiro is a light-skinned variety grown mainly in the north of Portugal and used to make the popular white Vinho Verde wines of the Minho region. It's also grown in smaller amounts in Galicia, just across the Spanish border to the north. Here it is called Loureira, and is used in the white wines of Rias Baixas, often blended with the district's pre-eminent grape variety, Albari?o, of which it is thought to be a relative.
The name Loureiro means "laurel", and refers to the distinctive aroma of the berries. Genetic studies suggest this is an old grape variety, and documentary references can be found dating back to the late 18th Century. Until the 1960s, it was mainly grown in one location, the Vale do Lima in the northern coastal part of the Minho region. Its relationship to the near-extinct red grape Loureiro Tinto is not yet known.
Loureiro wines also have aromas of orange and acacia blossom, have excellent acidity and are low in alcohol. Varietal Loureiro wines are becoming more popular, but historically, Vinho Verde wines have also contained the more subtle grape varieties Trajadura and Pederna (the Minho name for Arinto). These simple, refreshing wines are prone to premature oxidation and are increasingly bottled with a hint of carbon dioxide to ensure optimum quality and to add an effervescent spritz.
Synonyms include: Loureira, Galego Dourado.
Food pairings for Loureiro wines include:
- Clams steamed with white wine
- Vietnamese summer rolls with prawn
- Lentil and tomato curry