Vinho verde

Discover fascinating facts about Portugal’s best known mildly fizzy wine

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2016

Picture by Feliciano Guimarães


It isn’t green

  • Although ‘vinho verde’ literally translates as ‘green wine’, ‘young wine’ would be a more accurate translation – it’s meant to be drunk soon after bottling (ideally within a year of harvest).
  • The name of this wine comes from its origin in the Minho province in the north of Portugal: the Vinho Verde region, which is also the greenest and wettest part of the country. This area was first demarcated as a wine region in 1908 and became a Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) in 1984. Characteristic for the Vinho Verde region is the vertical way growers used to train their grape vines high off the ground.


Bubbly fizz

  • Although it’s not compulsory, vinho verdes are usually mildly fizzy. This spritziness, which is also described as pétillant, was historically a natural by-product of fermentation. Nowadays, it’s usually obtained by injecting carbon dioxide into the wine.
  • Vinho verdes are traditionally made from a blend of grapes such as arinto, azal, loureiro, trajadura and, more recently, alvarinho. Most vinho verdes are white, but they can also be rosé or red.


Picnic wine

  • Easy to drink, cheap, and with a low alcohol content (generally between 9 and 12%), vinho verde is often seen as an ideal wine for a summer lunch. Connoisseurs describing these wines often use words like ‘crisp’, ‘light’, ‘refreshing’, ‘zesty’, ‘lively’, ‘tangy’ and ‘zingy’ (although not all at once).
  • Portugal’s picnic wine is popular in the rest of the world as well. Especially in the United States where bottles of good wine that cost less than a tenner aren’t that common – and therefore very welcome.


Add to bacalhau

  • Want to drink vinho verde? Chill it. The recommended temperature for consumption is between 8 and 12˚C.
  • High in acidity, vinho verdes pair well with all sorts of seafood. Experts recommend it with salads, Asian cuisine and traditional Portuguese food like sardines, octopus and bacalhau. Check here for recipes that should go well with this wine. Enjoy the Algarve would like to add that it’s also great on its own.


See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2016

Posted in Food, Typical Portugal.