What to Drink Right Now: Vinho Verde, Part 1
Recently, I was fortunate enough to visit the wine making region in Portugal called Vinho Verde. The Vinho Verde area is known for making light, fresh, crisp, easy drinking whites. In fact, they are probably the easiest drinking wines in the world, with an easy going price tag to match. The great value and low alcohol, coupled with the wines lively flavors, and slight frizzante, make it my go-to wine for outdoor activities.
But while the Vinho Verde region excels at producing these straight forward whites, it isn’t their only wine. My next three columns will explore not only the classic Vinho Verde wines, but also the unique wines coming out of the region, starting with sparkling.
A colleague I was touring the region with said I had a blissful expression whenever a glass of Vinho Verde sparkling wine was placed in my hand. I don’t doubt it. Every sparkling wine I had in the Vinho Verde region was delicious. Many were rustic and earthy, while still being clean and fresh. These were very unlike bone dry, delicately flavored sparkling wines. I was completely in my happy place. And the next six sparklers listed here could put you in your happy place too.
Biodynamic winemaker Vasco Croft, pictured above with me :-) , produced two lovely “Pét-Nat” style sparkling wines, a white, vintage 2016, and a rosé, vintage 2017. In this ancient wine producing method, the wine is bottled before primary fermentation is finished, without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars. In the traditional méthode champenoise, the way in which Champagne is produced, the wine is fully fermented, then undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle. Biodynamic wines are a good choice for consumers who like to purchase organic wines. Though these two sparkling wines are a good choice for anyone. The light, tiny bubbles of the "Pét-Nat" style sparkling wines jubilantly dance on the tongue.
Note that while the label of the rosé is outlined in pink, the wine itself is only a blush away from reading white. The flavor, however, is distinctively rosé.
I found the white listed at $25, but both wines drink far above that price point.
The next two from Quinta de Santa Cristina are produced in the classic method. First a sparkling white or Espumante Bruto Branco 2014. This lemon and honeysuckle sparkler is delightful and according to Manuel Teixeira, manager of client relations at Quinta de Santa Cristina, should be available for about $24.
The second Quinta de Santa Cristina Espumante Super Reserva Bruto Tinto, or Sparkling Red Wine Brut Super Reserva 2012. This is a unique, fun, ripe, red sparkler and should also, hopefully, be available locally soon for about $30.
The last two are from Vercoope. The first, Via Latina Espumante de Vinho Verde Branco 2017 has a fruity nose, notes of stone fruit and melon and delicate bubbles. It’s a well-balanced blend of Arinto, Azal, Loureiro and Trajadura.
The second is Via Latina Espumante de Vinho Verde Rosé 2017. This pretty pink sparkler was everything you’d expect a good rosé to be with bubbles. Elegant with raspberry and watermelon notes.
Both are priced at around $12.99-$15.99.