First-Taste Guide to Vinho Verde

13 julho 2022

'Welcome to Spain', the text message from Verizon buzzed on my phone. I looked around, confused. The last time I checked (about two steps back) I was in the Vinho Verde subregion of Monção e Melgaço in Portugal. The expansive stretch of green vineyards and squintingly bright sunshine remained intact, and the cooling breeze continued to ruffle my hair. It should have also been about noon, but time was also operating on a different plane; the clock said 1pm.

'That happens lot', said António Luis Cerdeira, third-generation owner of Soalheiro winery. 'See over there?' He pointed to a vague spot on the horizon. 'That's the Spanish border. Rias Baixas is on the other side.'

While the two regions of Vinho Verde and Rias Baixas may geographically be close, the wines remain completely distinct, especially when it comes to Albariño - or Alvarinho as it's called in Portugal.

You might be asking: wait, isn't Vinho Verde a light, fizzy white wine? Well, yes... but not really. While that cuvée is a signature of the region, it's just one tiny part of the story. Vinho Verde, which is having a bit of a renaissance, is working to make varietal wines like Alvarinho, Loureiro, and Arinto more well-known to the world.


3 Reasons To Try Vinho Verde

  1. It's more than just a low-alcohol quaffer - I've always loved Vinho Verde, associating it with a version that is a refreshing, low-alcohol white wine with a bit of spritz. But there's a big focus now on creating single-varietal wines that speak to terroir.
  2. You're looking for a great value - Boundless options exist at a sub-$20 price point, but taste as if they are worth three times as much.
  3. You want a white wine that's going to be a crowd-pleaser, but goes beyond the obvious - Pinot Grigio? Over it. Sauvignon Blanc? Been there, done that. Chardonnay? Don't get me started. Wines from Vinho Verde deliver the fruit and the freshness you want from these other wines, but speak to their own terroir.

What is Vinho Verde?

Vinho Verde is a winemaking region in Portugal, as well as the name of the light, low-alcohol white wine. But we?re here to talk about the region itself. The Duoro and Minho rivers form natural borders. Eighty-five percent of production is devoted to white wines, called 'branco.' You'll also find sparkling wines, rosé, and red wines. Most red wine is consumed domestically, so most options you?ll see in the U.S. are white wines.

And what about the traditional Vinho Verde wine? It's usually a blend of any of the white indigenous grapes listed below, then fermented so a tiny bit of residual sugar remains. Forced carbonation gives many Vinho Verde their light effervescence, resulting in a wine that is bright and fruity and anywhere on the flavor spectrum from citrus fruits to orchard fruits.


Full Article 'Opening a bottle':

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