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Vino Verde (Portuguese Green Wine) Redux

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  • Krys Stanley Jan 27, 2005 11:13 PM
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I found this little Portuguese market with over a dozen types of Vinho Verdi.

This is the first time I ever heard of this wine. When I got home I looked up some info on the web and Chowhound.

http://www.chowhound.com/boards/gener...

In this link, Melanie Wong writes ("green wine", meaning green in age and freshness, not color) It seems that this is an old type of wine because the first export of this wine was in 1295 AD to the UK, according to Melanie … and I never heard about it until today. I’m so out of the loop.

The link at the bottom has quite a bit about Vinho Verde, but I still have questions.

Since this wine is young in age, how long does it keep? Is there a season like Beaujolais Nouveau?

If you click on the Brands and Varieties, there are quite a lot of different types of grapes used. It seems there are specific regions as well. What should I look for?

I didn’t realize the name referred to the age and not the color. I didn’t know there were reds and whites. I bought a bottle of Aveleda which seems to be the most common bottle. It is mentioned in most of the posts about Vinho Verdi on this board. Everyone in the Portuguese restaurant I was in ordered it. It is sort of fizzy, like a white wine spritzer (you aren’t getting Melanie Wong here).

The other I bought was another white – Gazela. It was in a clear bottle and through the power of suggestion I thought, ah, I see the green tinge. How pretty. The other bottle WAS green, so what was I to think.

What are some suggestions? What foods do these pair well with?

Link: http://www.vinhoverde.pt/en/default.asp

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  1. I also first had this wine(white) in a Portugese restaurant. I had a glass while waiting for my meal.

    I had ordered a pork clam dish which comes in sweetish sauce and thought the wine wouldn't go well. The bartender brought me a small plate of pickled vegetables cauliflower, carrots, celery and it made the wine come to life, (sorry no wine vocabulary here - I just know what i like) The main dish and the side of veggies the pairing went well.

    I commented that I liked the wine got directed to a small Portugese market that was very well stocked with 20-30 50 vino verdes, in the restaurant my wine had come from a white plastic/wicker jug, 4 or 5 litres. In the store there were maybe 6 or 7 varieties that came in that jug.

    I brought home a reg sized white in an amber colored bottle that reminded me of a champagne also.

    1. I found vino verde in Portugal a few years ago and drank it with meals and picnics almost every day. It was ofen served in a pitcher, like lemonade. I have bought it in this country, but it's a lot less "verde" by the time we get it. Buy the youngest you can find. A friend advised getting it really cold before opening, and that worked well. I especially like it in warm weather, but we have a shortage of that on the east coast right now!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pat Hammond

        Once again, I would remind anyone within an hour or two ride to New Bedford, Fall River MA., or East Providence, RI, to take advantage of the rich Portugeses communities and culture that can be found in those areas. Almost any package store, or convenience market will have an overwhelming selection of wines. Vinho Verde, being one of the most drinkable and popular wines, it is often available in the widest selections of lables and prices. $5.00 a bottle will usually produce a guaranteed winner. Once it is properly chilled, it will go with anything.Indeed, it drinks so easily that one is likely to forget charming "kick" that usually accompanies the completion of a bottle or two.

      2. I liked to have very simple fish dishes with vinho verde. One idea: Marinated anchovies like Jen's recipe: http://fogcity.blogs.com/jen/2003/10/...

        Or whole grilled fish (e.g., sardines) seasoned with nothing but salt. See below.

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. Whole Foods here in the DC area carries one in the summer called Gatao. It has a blue/green cat on the label and has become my staple hot weather drink. $6.99 a bottle.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Cynthia
            k
            Krys Stanley

            Thanks Cynthia, I'll check my local Whole Foods for Gatao and other Portuguese wines. I like kitties.

            So far my experience with Vino Verde is the cheaper the better it tastes. I tried three vintage varieties which I wouldn't try again. However, even with the vintage varieties, the top price I paid was $12.

            What I've tried in order of preference:

            Non Vintage

            Aveleda
            Gazela
            Casal Garcia

            They all taste like pleasant fizzy white wine spritzers. The Aveleda is the least expensive at about $5 a bottle. The Casal Garcia was a little acidic.

            Vintage

            Aveleda Alvarinho 2002 No fizz. The color and taste of a decent Cabernet Sauvignon. $10.

            Varanda do conde 2000 $10. Fizzy with ... get this .. a little taste of butterscotch. I am becoming quite the cheap wine expert, eh?

            Margadio de Torre 2000 $12 Lovely deep golden color. Not fond of it. A little sweet. Tasted aged.. no fizz

            Perhaps some of the vintage vinhos were no longer verde? How many years before it stops being verde ... two, three?

            How soon after the harvest would you see the wine. So for the 2005 harvest, would you expect to see bottles of 2005 wine?

            1. re: Krys Stanley
              m
              Melanie Wong

              I like my vinho verde youthful and fizzy. You should start to see the 2004's on the market in a month or two. In the meantime, stick with 2003. The 2000's are too old, and other than the Morgadio, were meant to be consumed within a year of the vintage. Too soon for 2005, the grape vines haven't even emerged from dormancy yet to make the crop that will be harvested in the fall.

              The butterscotch flavor is a sign of oxidation in a white wine that is in decline.

              As you continue sampling VV's, also pay attention to those that are labeled "alvarinho", which is a grape variety, and those that are blends. You may find a personal preference for one or the other.

              1. re: Krys Stanley
                m
                Melanie Wong

                I like my vinho verde youthful and fizzy. You should start to see the 2004's on the market in a month or two. In the meantime, stick with 2003. The 2000's are too old, and other than the Morgadio, were meant to be consumed within a year of the vintage. Too soon for 2005, the grape vines haven't even emerged from dormancy yet to make the crop that will be harvested in the fall.

                The butterscotch flavor is a sign of oxidation in a white wine that is in decline.

                As you continue sampling VV's, also pay attention to those that are labeled "alvarinho", which is a grape variety, and those that are blends. You may find a personal preference for one or the other.

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  k
                  Krys Stanley

                  Thanks for the info. Will note the alvarinho variety and the blends.

                  Wouldn't you know, I finally identify a flavor in wine on my own and it means my wine is dying.

                  1. re: Krys Stanley
                    m
                    Melanie Wong

                    Like many characteristics/flavors that we can pick out in a wine, a little butterscotch adds complexity whereas more than that can taste terrible. And, depending on the intended style of the wine, these kind of mature flavors can be considered desireable. For me, I don't like them in VV, preferring green, fresh, crackling personalities.

            2. I was in a rather upscale wine store in SF buying something else, but I thought I would ask if they had vinho verde.

              The local Portuguese markets are fine for the generic stuff, I guess I like Aveleda best. However, in terms of the more upscale stuff, the wine ain't so verde with some of it even bottled in the last millenium (1999).

              So, I ask about vinho verde at the upscale store. The wine clerk, it turns out, is FROM Portugual. I mean what are the chances of that?

              So he recoomends Quinta do Dorado Alvarinho and says a Berkeley Store carries it in addition to a fine selection of Portuguese wines.

              The Spanish Table also sells its wines online (link below).

              The reason the Quinta do Dorado Alvarinho is supposedly so good is because Spain has the more accomplished wine makers while Portugual has the better vineyards. This vinho verde is made by a Spanish wine maker who owns vineyards in Portugual ... the best of both worlds.

              I haven't bought it yet, but I thought I would pass along the tip before I lost the little piece of paper I wrote the wine name down on.

              Link: http://www.spanishtable.com/merchant....

              Image: http://www.spanishtable.com/graphics/...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Krys
                m
                Marcial Dorado

                Hello Krys,

                I am the winemaker of the Alvarinho Dorado and it is a pleasure for me reading about my wine on the net. The main reason of why this alvarinho is diferent is because I work diferentely. For me the work at the winery is secondary and only complementary to the work at the vineyards. learning to understand them and make them give me the best grape. this wine is on lees stiring for about 9 months and will age very well in the bottle. I am just trying to learn from the biodinamic forces of Nature.
                thank you. if any question, I'll be pleased to answer.
                best regards

                1. re: Marcial Dorado

                  Mr. Dorado,

                  I was finally on my way to buy your wine and searched for my post with the name. I just saw your reply.

                  I'm not sure you will ever read this, but I have to tell you how much I enjoyed your wine. The wine shop I purchased it at, The Spanish Table in Berkeley, also highly recommended it. This is the second recommendation from a better wine shop.

                  I am finding the Vihno Verde's that are meant to be aged are totally different than those which are the fizzy wines to drink immediately. They have the great characteristics of quality white wines.

                  I am not very knowledgable in wines, but I loved the crispness of your vihno verde. It has one of the most beautiful colors in a white wine I have ever seen.

                  A follow up question should you ever see this. What is the prime time to drink your wine and what is the maximum time that it should be kept?

                  1. re: Krys

                    My wife and I honeymooned in Portugal (almost 22 years ago) and drank Vino Verde with almost every meal. It was cheap (cost us less than $1 in those days) could be found everywhere (we found some in a department store) and to we who were not really into wine at the time, absolutely wonderful. Now I can get it a a local Portugese restaruant, but I normally buy much more complex and expensive wines since my tastes and wallet have matured. But once in a while, we do so for old times sake.

              2. I'm the former Krys Stanley. I recently tried Opala Vinho Verde and liked it quite a bit.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831951