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VINHO VERDE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

WHAT IS THE VINHO VERDE

Often sparkling and always crisp and fresh, the Vinho Verde is one of the most famous wine regions of Portugal. The Vinho Verde wine region starts just below the Portuguese-Spanish border, and extends all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, where it meets with the city of Porto. Dominated by the white grapes, these wines are indigenous to the Northern Portuguese area. These conditions keep the region cool and breezy. The weather and granite soils account for the bracing freshness of the wines.

The region is also fairly wet and rainy, as two rivers run through it, the Douro and Minho. A common misconception is that the “verde” part of the name (meaning “green” and pronounced vaird) refers to the color of the wine or the idea that the wine should be drank young. The name for Vinho Verde comes from Portugals lush green landscapes.

In the northwest corner of Portugal, Vinho Verde is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, mountain ranges to the east and south, and the Minho River to the north. The Douro River runs through the southern tip. These conditions keep the region cool and breezy. The weather and granite soils account for the bracing freshness of the wines.

Most Vinho Verde is a blend of white grapes, all indigenous to Portugal, but there are two predominant grapes that winemakers are starting to see as more interesting than the others: Alvarinho and Loureiro. You may be familiar with Albarinho, a different spelling but essentially still the same grape, from northern Spain. In Spain, Albarinho tends to be somewhat rounder and softer than its Portuguese counterpart. Alvarinho displays tropical aromas and an overall lemony character and is high in acidity; Loureiro is more floral, and also acidic.

THE HISTORY

When the Romans arrived in Portugal around 2000 years ago, people were already making fermented drinks. Wine in Portugal is part of daily life, and many families have a small plot of land where they grow grapes alongside vegetables and citrus trees. All over the Vinho Verde region, you’ll see grapevines hung in the beautiful Pergola style, draped high above where the cool breeze protects them from moisture and mold, arranged in a square around a family or neighborhood garden. In the lush, green, rolling hills of northern Portugal, dotted with the orange rooftops of family households, is the region where Vinho Verde wine is produced. Although there are several origin stories behind its name, including the idea that it is harvested early and should be drunk young, many people in the region suggest that the name comes from the verdant natural setting.

THE WHITE GRAPE VARIETIES

  • Alvarinho
  • Avesso
  • Arinto
  • Azal
  • Batoca
  • Loureiro

VINHO VERDE WITH FOOD

All over Portugal, seafood is the dominant cuisine, particularly the meaty white fish bacalao (cod). One of the most typical regional dishes is creamy rice with hunks of cod or monkfish, or shrimp. White Vinho Verde is high in acidity, which makes it ideal for pairing with all forms of seafood, particularly when complimented by a rich sauce or a coating of fried breadcrumbs; pork and potato dishes are also quite common. The fact is, Vinho Verde is great by itself, but if you are looking for an affordable white wine that’s delicious with light foods and all manners of sea creatures, you’ll definitely have a perfect pairing with this crisp, bright juice.

TASTE TRAILS AND VINHO VERDE EXPERIENCE

Join one of our orchard adventures in the Douro Valley region to learn more about the Vinho Verde. Here are our most popular experiences in Northern Portugal:

Comprised of nine sub-regions in the Douro Valley, each with unique micro-climates but generally dominated by granitic soils, the Vinho Verde wine region starts just below the Portuguese-Spanish border, and extends all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, where it meets with the city of Port (where most Port wine is made). The region is also fairly wet and rainy, as two rivers run through it, the Douro and Minho. In fact, the white wines are generally a pale straw color, and some can age beautifully. Reds and rosés are also produced. But the name for Vinho Verde comes from the region’s environment, which is lush and green.

You may be familiar with Albarinho. In Spain, Albarinho tends to be somewhat rounder and softer than its Portuguese counterpart. Alvarinho displays tropical aromas and an overall lemony character and is high in acidity; Loureiro is more floral, and also acidic.

For more information about this delicious wine known as the Vinho Verde and where we can take you try some please contact one of our travel team.

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