It’s hot outside – cool off with these Portuguese whites

Recently JoLynn Howe of Silver Lining Communications, Inc. asked, on behalf of the Vinho Verde Commission, if I’d like to sample a few white wines from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal.

Um, yes I would!

After reading up on these unique wines, I was really curious to see how they stacked up against the warm weather whites I normally drink: Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chardonnay. The slight effervescence – originally natural to the wine from malolactic fermentation, but now added by artificial carbonation – really intrigued me.

And not only did I want to taste Vinho Verde whites and see what they were all about, I thought it would be fun to bring the wine to my next book group meeting and get opinions from the literary gang, too.

Vinho Verde WineFirst, a little background on these wines.

  • The Portuguese pronounce Vinho Verde as “veeng-yo vaird”.
  • Vinho Verde is not a grape, but a region regulated by a DOC – protected designation of origin.
  • The “Verde” (green) in Vinho Verde refers to “young”, not the color green. These wines are released just 3-6 months after harvest.
  • The region also produces smaller amounts of red, rosé, sparkling wine, and brandy.
  • The Seal of Guarantee ensures the quality and authenticity of Vinho Verde wines.
    Vinho Verde wines are made from the combination of carefully selected varietals.
  • Recommended white varietals include Alvarinho, Avesso, Azal, Arinto, Loureiro, and Trajadura.
  • Priced around $10 or less retail, Vinho Verde wines are a great value.

We tasted three Vinho Verde whites:

Vinho Verde Wine

So, what did we think after tasting these wines with and without snacks? Reactions to each of the three were mixed. Some loved two of the three, but not the third. Others loved the third, but not the other two.

Effervescence varied quite a bit between the wines. None were overly sparkly. Just enough to add to the refreshing taste.

Overall we all found at least one or two we loved and were planning on picking up for summer sharing and sipping.

Vinho Verde whites in general, and these three in particular are Epicurean recommended. You can find them in most wine shops, Ingles Markets, and other grocery stores selling wine.