5 Reasons Vinho Verde Is One of the Best Summer Wines
The higher the mercury gets, the better a glass of crisp and refreshing wine starts to sound. But forget your tired pinot grigios, your chardonnays, and even your rosés (yes, we said it). With the hottest months yet to come, it's time to discover a wine seemingly made for summer: vinho verde.
This uniquely named wine has been trending in America for the last few years, but it hails from the far-northwest corner of Portugal. The relatively cool and rainy climate in that region—which is sprawling with expanses of crops and lush greenery—makes it an agricultural haven within the country. Although the area also produces reds and rosés, it's the white wines—a big part of which are vinho verdes—that are easiest to find and are most ideal for summertime sipping.
Below, we make the case for why you need to include a bottle of verde wine in your next picnic basket.
Vinho verde translates to "green wine." This isn't a reference to its color, though. Instead, it refers to the wine's youth. Verde wines are meant to be enjoyed while they are still young, when their natural acidity is at its most vibrant. They typically feature delicate flavors that may include light citrus, floral notes, and hints of minerality. In a given bottle, you might detect notes of melon, green apple, or even peach.
It comes in more varietals than just white.
You don't have to be a strict white-wine drinker to enjoy a verde wine, as they come in white, red, and even rosé varieties, and the drink's bright acidity is exceedingly common throughout them all. Still, it's true that whites are the most common and most popular. But there's a lot variation even within those: the region's winemaking regulations allow as many as 25 different grapes to be used to make white vinho verde. The most renowned wines, however, tend to be dominated by four varietals: alvarinho, trajadura, loureiro, and pedernã, so look for those names when choosing a bottle at the store or during a wine-tasting event.
It pairs well with ... well, everything.
The whites pair well with a wide range of foods, making them well suited to just about any summer occasion. But they go especially well with lighter fare such as fish, salads, sushi, and other summer-dinner staples. They also tend to be a bit lighter on alcohol content, which can be welcome on those truly hot summer days.
It has just a tiny bit of sparkle.
You won't find the same bubbles as you would in a glass of champagne, but many vinho verde wines do have just the slightest bit of effervescent sparkle. That's because the winemakers typically inject a bit of carbon dioxide into the wine immediately before bottling.
In addition to being endlessly refreshing, vinho verde is one of the best summer wines for one fantastic reason: it is very affordable. Finding a worthwhile bottle for less than $10 shouldn't be too much of a challenge, and your friends will think you're a hero if you show up with one on a hot summer day.
Photo by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon