Portugal / 2008
$6 - $9 / 88 points
About once a month I am asked to assist with choosing wines for a wedding. Usually I am asked to suggest "Good, but Inexpensive" wines for the bar and tables. Vinho Verde is always one of my top suggestions for white.
You can't beat Vinho Verde for easy drinking. Literally translated as "Green Wine," this Portuguese beauty, for me, is a white wine staple. Light, refreshing and inexpensive; this wine will change your perception of cheap white wine. It is a low alcohol classic that never ceases to surprise me.
This wine is wonderfully crisp and refreshing. It is light bodied with plenty of acid. It is easy to pair with most snacks and grilled food. Reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc, it has a nose of lemon and lime, fresh grass and a touch of earth. The wine is slightly effervescent. This is the trademark of a vinho verde. It tickles your tongue.
It is a simple wine. Light colored with little body, this wine is easy to quaff. The citrus is refreshing on the front end. There are also some tropical fruit and mineral notes on the finish, with not a lot in the middle. This wine should be served cold.
This wine is generally made from loureiro, trajadura and albarino grapes which are indigenous in Portugal. If the map looks like a persons face in profile, the wine is produced by the eyes and forehead.(See Map) The blend varies from producer to producer, but always includes these varietals. This wine is called Vinho Verde, because the wine is meant to be enjoyed while young. It is important that you check the label to be sure you are buying the latest available. Currently, you want the 2008 vintage.
The vintage on this wine is not found on the front label. You have to turn the bottle around and look for an important looking seal. Within the seal, it will tell you the vintage of the wine. The last time I reviewed a vinho verde, I got lots of e-mails from readers telling me how disappointed they were in the review. When we investigated further, we found they were drinking wine that was 2-3 years old. Believe me, you will love this wine. If you don't, I will give you odds that the bottle you have opened is old.
Have I told you the best news? Brace yourselves. This wine is less then $8 per bottle. You can find it as little as $5.99 if you look hard enough. At this price, you should be buying it by the case.
Vinho Verde is the Rodney Dangerfield of summer wine. Because of it's low price, it "Gets no respect." Don't wait as long as I did to try it. You will be glad you did!