If you’ve heard of Vinho Verde, chances are you might think of it as a sparkling white. But, take a fresh look at this Portuguese grown grape family and you’ll discover that it extends from white wines with a hint of spritz, to aromatic rosés and fruity, dry whites. Some are even starting to garner more premium labels with a new crop of single grape whites including Alvarinho and Loureiro among the best.
Grown in the region of the same name, the Vinho Verde grapes thrive in the lush green landscapes found on the West coast of the Iberian Peninsula in northern Portugal. Here the terrain is hilly, the soil is granite-rich, the climate mild and rain abundant. This landscape and the local microclimate make the perfect conditions for cultivating wines that are lively, refreshing and typified by crisp, aromatic flavours.
As the largest DOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin) region in Portugal, Vinho Verde has been in the viticultural business for over 2000 years. The supporting numbers stack up in impressive order too. 51,000 acres of vineyards are farmed by 19,000 grape growers, who produce 80 million litres of wine every year.
‘Verde’ translates as ’young‘ and the wines vibrant, fresh notes are part of its defining characteristics. Most wines produced in the region are bottled early, soon after being harvested. As a result of this early harvesting, Vinho Verde are predominantly light, zesty and refreshing and work well as a thirst-quenching aperitif or alongside a wide variety of dishes.
The whites are characterised by zesty apple, pear and citrus notes. They’re also relatively low in alcohol, with a regular sized glass of white ranging from 9- 12 % proof. Choose a chilled white as the perfect accompaniment to grilled seafood. If you’re a fan of bubbles, go for a sparkling Vinho Verde and pair it with a spicy Pad Thai or Jungle Curry; the dry bubbles balance well with rich aromatic flavours.
Try a chilled rosé if you’re eating fresh meze, salads or pan-fried fish, the subtle aromas of red fruit perfectly balance these fresher flavours. Or take inspiration from the recipes below that pair excellently with two different grapes from this Portuguese viticultural family.
Click here for our healthier pad thai recipe (perfect for the white wine)
Click here for our sea bass with grilled courgette, lemon and hazelnut recipe (perfect for the rosé wine)
Head on over to Vinho Verde’s Facebook page here
You might also like
The hottest bar & drink news: March 2016
The hottest wine news: March 2016
Kombucha, the Ultimate Guide: Everything You Need to Know
How Europeans take their coffee
Tony Naylor’s nine ways to avoid a hangover