Vinho Verde – Portugal’s answer to nouveau wines

Vinho Verde

Vinho verde means young wine, and can be white, red, or rose.

The vinho verde region, just north of the Douro Valley on the Atlantic coast, and close to the Spanish border, improved its quality immensely in the last decade, and is now promoting its refreshing wines vigorously.

White wines dominate the production. Loureiro, arinto, trajadura, avesso, and azal are permitted grape varieties for whites; vinhao, borracal and aramon for reds; and espadeiro and padeiro for rose.

The vinho verde appellation was created in 1908, with controls imposed in 1929, and rewritten in 1984.

Most of the 30 000 growers own small vineyards, and by necessity,

are affiliated with co-operatives.

Vinho verde are always low in alcohol 9 to 11.5 and occasionally 12 ABV, acid-driven, fruity, light, frizzante, and highly refreshing. They go well with fish dishes that are simply prepared, or vegetable stews or cheeses.

Portuguese like to enjoy their vinho verde with fresh sardines wrapped in grape leaves and grilled.

Alvarinho (albarino in Spain) is also planted in the region, and mostly employed in the production of fragrant, fruity vartetal wines with a little higher alcohol levels. They may lack in their frizzante characteristics.

Vinho verde wines are relatively inexpensive and a few are listed on the general list of the L. C. B.O; others are available as consignment products.

A few days ago four vinho verde wineries presented their products to an eager crowd of wine writers.

Vinho Verde, 2013, Alianca
Pale yellow in colour, perfumey with a fine acid backbone. Fine acidity, light, balanced and frizzante.
$ 8.95

A blend of arinto, trajadura, avesso, and azal this light wine offers aromas of lime, pleasant acidity, and spicy finish.
$ 8.50

Muros Antigos, 2013
A varietal vino verde of loureiro. It is smooth, fruity, pleasant and slightly off dry.
$ 17.20 Consignment wine

Quinta de Gomariz Colehita Seleccionada, 2013
Floral aromas, followed by refreshing acidity. Well balanced clean and eminently suitable for sipping, or with light foods.
$ 18.95 Consignment wine

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