Friends, if you don’t know Vinho Verde from Portugal, allow me to introduce you to the best cheap and cheerful wine ever! It’s Vinho Verde and the literal translation is “green wine” or “young wine,” depending on who you ask, but don’t bother asking – just pour a glass. These wines are exactly what you want on a summer day: light, refreshing, low-ish in alcohol and often a tiny bit spritzy. They are the definition of affordalicious!
There are a bunch of white and red grapes that are permitted in the production of Vinho Verde, but you know what? It’s summer and I’m not writing a term paper here. But this Wine Enthusiast article is a good one, if you want an easy read on the grapes (Layla Schlack is a great writer.) One expert note I will share is how you pronounce it: Vinho Vaird. (You do not pronounce the “e.”) This comes from the highest authority in the land, Eugénio Jardim from Wines of Portugal.
This month, the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers are exploring these fun wines. Faced with a choice of eight Vinho Verde wines at Binny’s, I decided to try two: the cheapest and the most expensive. (cost me less than $25 for two bottles!) Let’s see what I found!
Gazela Vinho Verde $5.99 – I bet you’ve seen this one, with its zippy green label. It’s everywhere from 7-Elevens to grocery stores to small wine shops and giant liquor stores. It’s non-vintage (meaning it’s a blend of wines from different vintages), it’s a tiny bit spritzy (from a little in-bottle carbonation) and it’s delicious! It’s got zesty acidity, a burst of happy lemon/lime citrus and clocks in at just 9% ABV (alcohol by volume). You know what low ABV means: porch pounder! Yes, friends you could sip on this all afternoon and still be able to stand up and help yourself to some ceviche, or…. roasted cherry tomatoes with feta.
When my neighbor Hanna brought me a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes from her rooftop garden, I knew I couldn’t just shovel them all into my face at one time (I love tomatoes). So I threw them on a sheet pan, added a splash of olive oil and garlic salt and roasted them for 25 minutes at 300 degrees. The roasting tames the acid and brings out the natural sugars, and then the salty feta cheese adds a little welcome texture and richness and I am telling you! This simple summer side dish is a WINNER with the Gazela Vinho Verde!
No tomatoes? No problem. It would also be great with almost any salad or sammie or vegetable or seafood or poultry dish. I don’t see this wine fighting with many foods. Next!
Dócil Vinho Verde 2019 $14.99 Okay, let’s talk about this freaky wine! It is definitely a Vinho Verde. But a) it’s a vintage wine and b) it’s a single varietal: the Loureiro grape. These two things are pretty unusual. The guy at Binny’s said he had it with roasted butternut squash ravioli – which is a very fall-is dish for such a summery wine, but once you taste this, you’ll get it. I mean, it’s still a crazy affordalicious bottle but it’s also a more “serious” wine. Dirk Niepoort, the producer, is a major Portuguese wine company – you may know their Port wines. But they make wine from many regions – including this fabulous Vinho Verde under the Docìl label. (P.S. I tried to find a link to more info, but there’s nothing on this exact wine on the Niepoort website, sorry! Blame Covid.)
It reminded me of biting into a perfect, ripe summer peach. The aromatics are gushing with honey, ripe peach and melon. And oh, hello – there are some floral notes here, too. It is SO GOOD! If you like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Albarino or even Chardonnay – I bet you would like this Vinho Verde.
However – it was horrible with the roasted cherry tomatoes. Blech! This Vinho Verde is more floral and delicate, and the assertive flavors of the roasted tomatoes and feta just wrecked it. This gentle, soft wine was really good with truffle cheddar and aged cheddar cheeses, and you know what else? Elote dip! So easy to make:
Elote Dip (A Mexican corn-on-the-cob treatment that I adapted into a dip.)
2 ears of sweet corn
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Juice of half a lime
1 Tbl chopped red onion
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp chile powder
As much chopped cilantro as you want
- Cook the corn. Either microwave it on the cob and then cut it off the cob, or cut it off the cob and sauté in butter til a bit charred.
- Whisk the following together: the mayo, lime juice, garlic salt, chile powder.
- Add the “sauce” to the corn, then add the diced jalapeño and red onion and serve with tortilla chips
And there you have it. Fresh, fun and fizzy Vinho Verde is what I’ll be pouring for the rest of the summer. If you try it, let me know what you think. And if you’re really into it, check out more blog posts below on Vinho Verde and join us on Twitter on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. CT. Find us using #winepw. We’ll be swapping stories of our Vinho Verde adventures and I know I’ll get inspiration to try even more Vinho Verde wines! Cheers, everybody!
Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Cam shares Foods from Around the World Paired with Pink Wines from Portugal
Liz Barrett of What’s In That Bottle? is thrilled with Va Va Va Vinho Verde: the Portuguese White That Wows
Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles answers What is Vinho Verde? 5 things I didn’t know about this perfect summer wine
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm savors Tomato Poached Cod with Vinho Verde Wine.
Linda at My Full Wine Glass realizes that Distinctively ‘laurel” Vinho Verde Delivers with Seafood and Salad
Nicole at SommsTable is loving Vinho Verde and Simple Seafood Feast
Payal at Keep the Peas is pairing Sem Igual Vinho Verde with Peixe Caldine
Gwendolyn at Wine Predator says Vinho Verde: A Green Wine That’s White from Portugal Paired with Tuna, Tomato, Basil, Orzo #WinePW
Martin at Enofylz is Pairing Maria Papoila Vinho Verde with Summer Pizza
Susannah at Avvinare explains how Vinho Verde Meets Homemade Sushi
Terri at Our Good Life savors Scallops, Smashed Peas and a Great Vinho Verde
Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairing achieves A Successful Hunt Down of a Red Vinhao Escolha from Vinho Verde DOC #WinePW
Cindy at Grape Experiences, has been reminiscing on last fall’s work trip where she enjoyed A Morning Visit to Quinta da Aveleda in Vinho Verde