(Vinho Verde Knowledge)

DISCLAIMER:

We encourage responsible drinking. Like other drinks containing alcohol, wine has been used by many cultures around the world, and associated, throughout the ages, with enjoyment and celebration. Its excessive or inappropriate consumption, however, can cause serious health and social problems for individuals and society. Therefore, if you do choose to drink, please do so in a responsible, safe, sensible, and healthy way.

SOME CURIOSITIES & FACTS ABOUT “VINHO VERDE”:

. Is “Vinho Verde” really “green”?

Literally meaning “Green Wine”, “Vinho Verde” can be White, Red, or Pink (Rosé) – but not actually “green”, such designation defining its youth, rather than its color. Not very high in alcohol content and slightly sparkling, “Vinho Verde” is also slightly acidic – a characteristic derived, mainly, from the rather cool and damp climate of the region where the grape varieties it is made from grow and ripen. If not balanced, this acidity may turn out to be excessive, and make the wine too tart (too “green” in flavor); when properly balanced, however, it lends quite a good and refreshing, distinctive “tang” to it. A careful selection of the varieties used, either separately (such as in the production of mono-varietal wines) or in a particular blend, as well as a thorough control of the grapes’ maturity and then of the wine fermentation at a steady, cool temperature, do make all the difference.

. Which are the best ways to enjoy “Vinho Verde”?

Due to its relatively low alcohol content (depending on the varieties, between 8,5 % minimum and 13% maximum) and its particular structure, “Vinho Verde” does not age well, and must be drunk within a year – or, in very specific cases, within two years, at the most – after which it begins to suffer alterations that hinder its quality. Also, to bring out the best of its freshness and natural sparkle, as well as its fruity and complex aromas, “Vinho Verde” must be served very cold (recommended temperatures of 6º to 8º C for the White and the Pink (Rosé) and 8º to 10º C for the Red).

While the White “Vinho Verde” is the ideal complement for fresh fish and seafood, as well as for white meats and for the numerous salted cod dishes which are part of the Northern Portuguese gastronomy, and the Red accompanies the traditional, spiced pork recipes, but also grilled sardines, beautifully, the Pink (Rosé) goes well with any food or light snack – and adds a very special touch to the traditional desserts, particularly the fluffy sponge-cake (Pão-de-Ló”).

Recently, however, the use of White and Pink (Rosé) “Vinho Verde” as an aperitif has quite deservingly become very trendy. On the other hand, the ancient winter-time tradition of warm Red “Vinho Verde”, sweetened and spiced with cinnamon, with extra flavor added by a whole baked apple placed in the jug in which it is served, has been all but lost, but it is well worth reviving, since it makes for an excellent, very comforting drink in cold weather.

“Vinho Verde” is also used in the preparation of many traditional Portuguese foods (as seasoning, or in marinades, or sauces), as well as in the confection of some traditional desserts – such as the “Rabanadas de Vinho” (a kind of “French toast”, soaked in a Red “Vinho Verde” flavored syrup), among others.

GLOSSARY:

. D.O.C. – Official European system of origin identification; “Denomination of Origin Controlled”.

. Enologist, also spelled “Oenologist” – A specialist in Enology, or Oenology, the art and science of winemaking.

. Vinho Regional – Literally, “Regional Wine”. An intermediate level in the Portuguese classification system; defines the quality level between “table wine” and “quality wine”, and is usually followed by the identification of the region of origin – like “Minho”, the far northwestern region of Portugal where Quinta da Lage is located.

. V.Q.P.R.D. – Official term to designate “Quality Wine Produced in a Demarcated Region”.

. Viticulture / Viniculture – While the first term applies to the science of grape growing, the second one applies to the entire scope of wine, and is used for the business and science of growing grapes, making the wine, and then selling it.

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For further information on “Vinho Verde”, we recommend a visit to the C.V.R.V.V. (Comission of Viticulture for the Vinho Verde Region) website.

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