I just got back from a week in Portugal’s far north, and the region of Vinho Verde. I met with several producers who will be sharing their wines at next year’s VeritageMiami Grand Tasting at Village of Merrick Park on April 24, 2014, but you don’t have to wait until then to try these delicious wines. They are perfect for summer sipping.
What do we need for a wine to beat the heat? Low alcohol helps (so it’s more refreshing and, let’s face it, we can drink more), and crisp fruit to make a pleasant drink by itself or to pair with food. Check with your favorite wine seller and ask about wines from Vinho Verde. At less (often much less) than $12 a bottle, these crisp whites (and the occasional rosé) are perfect for terrace tippling during the hot Florida summer. I like white Vinho Verde with seafood, tapas and soft cheeses and, believe it or not, the rosé makes an amazing match for strawberry ice cream! It’s pretty good with salmon, too.
The Vinho Verde region is not far inland from Portugal’s major northern port city of Oporto, so the local food is an eclectic match of seafood and rustic meats and cheese. I discovered a great combination of sardines with chickpeas, amazing sausages and rustic breads that relied on corn as much as flour for their texture. The red wines from the region are drinkable but I tasted none that were earth shaking. The whites on the other hand offered lots of excitement. I continue to be perplexed why so few of the winemakers I met talked much about pairing wine and food – perhaps it’s just such a natural choice for them that it doesn’t seem remarkable. To me, the biggest attraction these wines have for us consumers is how well they match up with a huge array of culinary styles. And they taste good, too. I figure at these prices, the best match for a bottle of Vinho Verde is a second bottle!
Next week, I’ll introduce you to some of the most interesting wine makers in Vinho Verde – some great characters I know you’ll enjoy meeting.
© 2013 Lyn Farmer