For Vinho Verde wine enthusiasts — there’s good reason to drink it. These wines are youthful, flavor packed, and typically quite cheap. Vinho Verde is arguably the most popular white wine in Portugal, but its popularity is also exploding in the United States. It can be made in a Rosé or red wine style as well. Note that Vinho Verde isn’t just a style of wine from Portugal, it’s also a wine making region!
Translated from Portugeuse directly — Vinho Verde means green wine. In actuality, it stands for young wine. Most Vinho Verde wines are crafted with the intent to be consumed within one year after being bottled. They are, in my opinion, one of the most ideal wines you can drink during the summer months.
Regardless of what wine making style is employed, they are refreshing, crisp, light and can pack a subtle amount of effervescence (even the reds!). Because the amount of CO2 pressure utilized is so minimal, resulting from malolactic fermentation, Vinho Verde wines are not considered sparkling wines. Though the carbon dioxide content has become a trademark quality that consumers look for in Vinho Verde wine. They are also not intensely alcoholic, and typically contain no more than 11% ABV.
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Looking for a great, inexpensive Vinho Verde wine recommendation? Try the Espiral Vinho Verde White Wine. It’s currently available at Trader Joe’s for around $5!
Vinho Verde Wine Styles
These wines can be made in a couple of ways. Depending upon the grape varieties utilized, they can also have varying aromas and flavors. Regardless, expect intense aromas of tree fruit and flowers.
1. Vinho Verde Rosé
- Vinho Verde wine crafted in a Rose style tend to have a predominantly cherry hue to them. They can be both dry or off-dry, with very fruit forward aromas and will most often be crafted from Padeiro and or Espadeiro grapes. Expect big hints of cherry, strawberry and goji berries
2. Vinho Verde White Wine
- My favorite style of Vinho Verde — these white wines are incredibly refreshing with crisp acidity. They are made from local grape varieties which include Arinto, Azal, Avesso, Loureiro and Trajadura. The best styles have just the right amount of bubbles, backed by big notes of tree and tropical fruit. Look for Vinho Verde white wines that emit notes of pear, melon, lime and cool mineral notes.
3. Vinho Verde Red Wine
- Vinho Verde reds tend experience a bit of neglect. These reds are usually made to be single varietal wines, or blends of Amaral, Borraçal and Vinhão. Because of the terroir, and the grape varieties themselves, expect a big depth of flavor over rich, grippy tannic content.
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The Portuguese Wine Making Region of Vinho Verde
Also known as Minho province, Vinho Verde is currently the largest wine producing region in Portugal. It reaches from the second largest city in Portugal (Oporto) all the way to Spain.
My favorite aspect about this wine region is the terroir. The soil naturally aids in enhancing crisp acidic content, while also brings out beautiful minerality in the final wine product. Because the soil composition is predominantly slate, clay and schist based — it naturally aids in drainage. Compounded by 60 inches of rainfall annually, this climatic and geological combination forces the grape vines in the region to struggle for a place in the sun, enhancing their flavor.
Vinho Verde Food Pairings
In all honesty, I don’t like to pair Vinho Verde with food. I think it’s a great wine to sip on the beach by itself. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pair well with food! If you’re looking for some solid eats, the best choice would be fresh caught fish. Stop by your local grocery store and buy the freshest red fish, mutton snapper or black grouper you can get your hands on. Throw it on the grill or pan-sear it with lemon and white wine sauce.