Vinho Verde – Few wines symbolize summer quite like Vinho Verde. These refreshing, young wines are fun, simple to drink and the perfect companion for the outdoors in the sun. They’re also quite affordable. The Vinho Verde selection at the SAQ is under $22 a bottle which makes them accessible for every budget. These are wines of pleasure that serve their purpose perfectly, to enjoy the playful nature of summer.
Made in Portugal, Vinho Verde literally means “green wine” in Portuguese and its name implies that the wine has to be drunk in its youth when the wine is alive. Even though it’s not carbonated, as a result of their youth Vinho Verde’s can have a slight effervescent quality ( frizzante) that accentuates the wine’s refreshing acidity. For some novice wine lovers, drinking a glass of Vinho Verde can evoque memories of quenching down a lemonade.
Vinho Verde region has a beautiful historical precedence. With 22 centuries of winemaking tradition under the belt, wine growing goes back to the time of Pliny, the Roman philosopher. In addition, Vinho Verde was one of the first Portuguese wines to be exported in European markets. Finally, the region was delimited in 1908.
The region the wine comes from is one of Portugal’s largest, and the landscape where it grows is lush and green, located right near the Atlantic ocean. It actually conjures images of Ireland Those oceanic breezes assist in the development of the bright fruit that’s used to make this refreshing wine, and it’s the ideal representation of the place it’s made, the perfect wine for the lake.
Composed of nine sub-regions in the Douro Valley, each with a particular microclimates but granitic soils being the common denominator, the Vinho Verde wine region begins right below the Portuguese-Spanish border, and continues all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, where it encounters the city of Port. Vinho Verde is humid rainy, as two rivers pass through it, the Douro and Minho.
Almost of all Vinho Verde bottlings are a blend of white grapes, native to Portugal, but there are two majority varieties that producers recognize to have more potential than others: Alvarinho and Loureiro.Albarinho is the same grape from northern Spain but with a different spelling In Spain, Albarinho tends to be somewhat rounder and softer than its Portuguese cousin. Alvarinho displays exotic tropical aromas with a zesty lemony character and is high in acidity; Loureiro is more floral, with a more high strung acidic profile.
Vinho Verde also makes a tiny amount of rose and red. Red blends include traditional coupages of indigenous Minhao and Borracal. On the other hand, rose is made with Espadeiro and Padeiro. However, the production is tiny. For instance, 84% of the production of Vinho Verde is white, with the remainder divided in 10% red and 6% rose. These are 2014 figures from the trade body of Vinho Verde.
All over Portugal, seafood is a major protagonist in the cuisine, particularly the white fish bacalao (cod). One of the most folkloric regional dishes is creamy rice with hunks of cod and shrimp. White Vinho Verde has a high acidity, which makes it ideal for pairing different types of seafood, particularly when they are coated with fried breadcrumbs.
Recommended producers in the LCBO
Gazela Vinho Verde. ( White) LCBO # 141432 $9.60
Zingy citrus fruit and frizzantino in the mouth. This young and simple wine is delightful on its own and matches surprinsigly well for shellfish, like clams and oysters.
Aveleda Vinho Verde 2016 ( White) LCBO # 89995 $11.60
Lemony profile with stony exotic white fruit and peach tea character. Fresh and saline with a complex floral and spice taste profile. Long and racy finale. Amazing value for the price. Have it with seafood tapas or by itself bathing in the sun.
Anselmo Mendes Vinho Verde ( Red) Pardusco 2013 LCBO # 197565 $17.35
On the nose, quite leathery, with red cherry and spice nuances. Medium body, with barnyard and earthy nuances. Medium length finish. Try it with a filet mignon and roasted potatoes.