Before I get into the wine, can we look at these adorable wine glasses? I picked them up at Michaels, yes the craft store. And no, I didn’t have to paint them, they came like this! They were 30% off so I couldn’t pass them up. And, they look super cute in the wine hutch in my kitchen.
Now, on to this week’s topic. I don’t remember exactly when I got turned on to Vinho Verde, but I think it was when the Trader Joe’s opened near us several years back. I’m pretty sure I bought my first bottle there, and immediately fell in love with its crisp effervescence and how easy it is to drink. Vinho Verde is Portuguese for “green wine,” or “young wine.” Wine is usually named for the type of grape used in making it (cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir, tempranillo, etc.). You can read about wine grapes here. In other cases wines are named for the region in which they are produced. In France this is called the AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and in Portugal this is called DOC (denominação de origem controlada), or protected designation of origin. The DOC also establishes regulations to protect the quality of the wine in a particular region. Vinho Verde is a DOC, not a grape varietal. Your wine should have a Seal of Guarantee to ensure the quality. Visit Wines of Vinho Verde to learn more about this region.
Originally, the effervescence was a mistake resulting from fermentation taking place, but the folks in Portugal actually liked it, so the wine makers continued to make it. Today, the effervescence is created by adding carbonation to the wine. It does not have enough fizz to be considered a “sparkling wine,” but just enough to give it a nice, crisp feeling in your mouth.
This stuff goes down like water in the summer, and I can honestly say it has never, ever given me a headache unlike other wines (Hello, chardonnay? You’re guilty). It goes nicely with all types of food, and I find it’s a great wine to serve at a picnic or barbecue. The downside is I can never find this stuff in my local grocery stores; I’ve always had to trek to Trader Joes, Total Wine, or World Market to get a bottle. Or 2.
Espiral is my absolute favorite Vinho Verde. I get it from Trader Joe’s for just $4.99. Crazy cheap, right? It’s super light and very refreshing. And, it does sport the Selo De Garantia, so you will know it’s legit.
Famega is another good one. I’ve picked this one up at Total Wine for under $10. It has the same, light crispness that Espiral does with a slightly fruity aroma. Bottled by Caves da Cerca in Portugal.
Casal Garcia has a hint of citrus to it, which make it pair nicely with seafood and fish. I picked this up at Sherlock’s after a cooking class at Cook’s Warehouse. By the way, I highly recommend the cooking classes there if you live in the Atlanta area! This wine was served with the meal we prepared so my friends and I immediately went next door to pick up a few bottles. You can also get it at Total Wine.
Aveleda is a lovely vinho verde that I picked up at World Market (I haven’t seen it there since last summer, but I know that Total Wine also carries it). While still bright and crisp and citrusy like the others, I think this wine has a little more flavor than the others, and a smoother feel.
Now get yourself to the store and pick up a bottle of this before summer is over!