Vinho Verde has become synonymous with light, fruity, aromatic white wines, which are very food friendly, low in alcohol (around 10-12% ABV) and low in calories making it the top choice for many consumers during the hotter months. It has great versatility when pairing with food and is perfect with many seafood and fish dishes, white meats, salads and vegetarian and vegan dishes. A perfect example of this is Quinta de Azevedo DOC Vinho Verde.
Where’s it from? 35 hectares of vineyards in the cool, wet part of north-western Portugal, bordered to the north by the Minho River adjacent to Spain, to the west by the Atlantic and to the south by the city of Porto.
What is it like? The wine has intense aromas that combine floral notes of roses and orange blossom with citrus fruit and elegant minerality. With a very slight prickle of fizz, it is vibrant, lively and well balanced.
What can I drink it with? A perfect wine for the summer sunshine, it is also a great partner to seafood, green salads and light pasta dishes.
What makes it so special? Eschewing traditional high-trained pergolas, the Quinta de Azevedo vineyards were devised using modern cordon-trained planting and cultivation systems. This ensures better exposure and aeration of the vines, which prevents disease and provides better exposure for the grapes, resulting in riper and healthier fruit at harvest.
As a wine region, Vinho Verde DOC has a long, rich viticultural and oenological history making it the oldest wine region of Portugal. The representative body of the region, Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes (CVRVV), hopes to use this to their advantage in strengthening the promotion of Vinho Verde over the coming years and tap into the diversity of the region, which has been seldom explored by the international market. This includes single variety whites as well as rosé and reds. At the moment, the most interesting focus for winemakers of the region and consumers alike, is the single varietal whites made from Alvarinho or Loureiro.
Consumers maybe already familiar with Alvarinho with the slightly different spelling of Albariño in northern Spain. In Vinho Verde, it is the king of all the region’s grapes and tends to be leaner and crisper than their Spanish counterparts but still displays the same aromatic and flavour qualities of citrus and tropical fruit with refreshing acidity. Loureiro shares a similar profile although shows more floral notes on the nose.
What distinguishes these single varietal whites from others in Vinho Verde is their ageing potential and flavour complexity. Look to Morgadio de Torre Alvarinho DOC Vinho Verde.
Where’s it from? The Monção e Melgaço commune of the Minho in the far north of Portugal.
What is it like? It has lots of lovely tropical fruit flavours like pineapple, peach and papaya all backed up with a refreshing acidity, a deep rich minerality and a long, lingering finish.
What can I drink it with? Seafood is a great match with most Vinho Verdes – for this wine though, think rich. Salmon, monkfish, shrimp and lobster would match well.
What makes it so special? Vinho Verde has the reputation for light, simple, gently effervescent, uncomplicated wine. While this is the region’s charm very few people are aware that true quality age-worthy whites are also produced. This wine is certainly the latter, made from Alvarinho, it is a truly complex wine able to challenge those pre-conceptions.