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Your Essential Guide to Vinho Verde: The Portuguese Wine Masterpiece

 

Your Essential Guide to Vinho Verde: The Portuguese Wine Masterpiece

Vinho verde is a severely underrated, delicious type of wine that you need to try. Here's a guide on this amazing Portuguese drink.

Are you a wine lover? You're not alone! The latest stats show the U.S. wine market is over 70 billion dollars!

Are you passionate about trying different varietals and enjoying the perfect glass of wine with your food? So are we!

One of the most appealing things about wine is the sheer number of different types of wine available. All that variety makes it fun, but it's also confusing for the novice and even sometimes for the experienced oenophile. 

Even those with a lot of wine experience discover wines they've never had before. Some wines are such great value and so versatile that almost everyone loves them.

Vinho Verde is one of those wines!

Don't let fall pass you by without tasting a mouthwatering, underrated Vinho Verde. Keep reading for your essential guide to these delicious wines.

What's a Vinho Verde Wine?

Vinho Verde isn't a type of grape but rather a place. Vinho Verde wines come from the grapes of the Vinho Verde region in Portugal

The Vinho Verde area of Portugal is green, lush, and beautiful, and that's where the wine gets its name. The wines themselves are not green in color. The region is breezy and cool with granite soils giving the grapes a fresh, crisp flavor. 

Vinho Verde comes in white, red, and rosé. These lovely light wines are high in acidity and somewhat dry. 

Most Vinho Verde wines have a slight effervescence, which makes them refreshing in warmer weather, especially the whites. 

Not all of the wines are effervescent. You'll discern more of the mineral and acid notes in the wines that aren't effervescent. Both types are delicious. 

Vinho Verde Whites

There are seven major types of white grapes that grow in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. They grow in the nine sub-appellations in the region. They are:

  • Trajadura
  • Loureiro
  • Batoca
  • Azal
  • Avesso

These seven grape varieties are the most common in U.S. bottlings of Vinho Verde. Although there are some varietals, most Vinho Verdes are wine blends. 

Tradjadura

The Tradjadura is a late-ripening grape with aromas of blossoms and pears. It's a full-bodied wine with lavish texture. It grows in the northern sub-appellations, though used in all sorts of blends in the region. 

Loureiro

If you like peach and floral aromas, you'll love Vinho Verde that's heavy with Loureiro grapes. This grape is a great complement to the brightness in blended wines. 

Batoca

The Batoca grape serves a specific purpose in Vinho Verde blends. It adds a smooth quality. The grape has enough acidity and body to stand on its own, though it's most common in a blended bottle. 

Azal

The second most-planted variety of grape in the region is the Azal grape. This gentle, citrusy grape has good acidity with flavors of apple. it's grown in the inland subregions of Sousa, Amarante, Basto, and Baião. 

Because it ripens late, it gives the farmers time for harvesting more delicate grapes first. 

Avesso  

This full-bodied grape grows in the southern sub-appellations and is lower in acid than many other grapes—the grape tastes of stone fruits and tropical fragrances. Avesso is sometimes used as 100% Avesso instead of in a blend. 

Arinto

Arinto is high in acidity and grows throughout the entire Vinho Verde region. It also grows throughout Portugal. 

The high acidity maintains the freshness but sometimes develops buttery notes as well. 

Alvarinho

The Alvarinho grape is a blending grape because wine from this grape produces higher levels of alcohol. It's grown in the northern sub-appellations of Melgaço and Monção. It has wonderful tropical and lemon notes. 

Vinho Verde Reds

If you're familiar with Vinho Verde wines, chances are you've had a white blend. There aren't a lot of red Vinho Verdes in the United States. That could change soon. 

There are only three varieties of red you'll see in the U.S.:

  • Espadeiro
  • Alvarelhão
  • Viinhão

The region has had reds much longer than the white grapes. The traditional way of serving the reds is in a white bowl. This highlights the deep red color. 

Espadeiro

The Espadeiro is light-bodied and light in color. This food-friendly grape is notably used for rosé wines. 

Alvarelhão

This fine grape is worthy of nobility and, in fact, was only for the nobility throughout history. The abolition of the monarchy in the early 1900s was also the end of Alvarelhão.

That's changing as vintners work to bring back this illustrious grape. It's an elegant grape that makes a well-balanced wine.

Vinhão 

Of all the red grapes in the Vinho Verde region, Vinhāo is the most widely planted. The grape has firm tannins and is high in acidity, making it food-friendly. 

Speaking of food-friendly wines...

Vinho Verde Wine and Food Pairings

Vinho Verde wines are crisp and light with citrusy, melon, and apple notes. The wines are great for enjoying on their own but also pair well with food. Buy a few cases and host a wine-tasting party at home!

Do you like seafood? A crisp, chilled bottle of Vinho Verde pairs well with salmon or halibut.

A popular dish in Portugal is creamy rice with shrimp or cod, which pairs deliciously with Vinho Verde. The wine is also delicious with chicken. You're sure to find a Vinho Verde that pairs well with whatever food you love. 

Love Sunday brunch? Ditch the prosecco for a refreshing Vinho Verde. 

Want to have one glass of wine but don't want to open an entire bottle? Use the unique Coravin system

Affordable Vinho Verde

One of the nicest things about Vinho Verde is its affordability. A good bottle runs about 10 dollars. 

The single-varietals cost a little more but still won't run more than about 20 dollars a bottle. 

It's Time for a Bottle of Vinho Verde

If you haven't tried Vinho Verde, you're missing out on an array of delicious wines. Whether you like white, red, or rosé, there's a Vinho Verde you'll love. 

Sip it on the patio after a long day at work or enjoy it with friends over a simple meal. You'll wonder what took you so long to learn about this traditional and wonderful Portuguese wine!

Need some wine accessories? Take a look here!

How to Decant Wine Like a Pro: 7 Tips to Keep In Mind

 

How to Decant Wine Like a Pro: 7 Tips to Keep In Mind

If you want to impress your friends and family, or want to show off your expertise in the wine world, then you need to know how to decant wine.

Keyword(s): how to decant wine

Uncorking a 2014 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon or a 2018 Robert Weil Reisling is one way to elevate a dinner party with friends. However, if you want to go that extra mile in terms of knowing wine, you need to know about decanting.

Decanting is the best way to ensure your bottle of wine tastes at its optimal level of flavor. In this article, we will give you 7 pro tips on how to decant wine in your own home. 

High quality and decadent wines deserve to be treated correctly; this guide will ensure that you know exactly how to do so. 

1. Store Your Wine Correctly 

Before you even begin to think about decanting your wine, proper storage of your bottles is paramount. This is to prevent any undesirable hot or cool temperatures interfering with the quality of your wine. 

The best way to do this is to invest in a cooling system for your wine cellar. This is to ensure that your bottles are stored at the optimum temperature of between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you don't have a cellar, you can always have a wine cabinet installed that keeps the wine at the same temperature and can hold between 14-1200 bottles of wine. These can also be a great way of displaying your wine bottles and add a stylish flair to your kitchen or wherever you chose to keep it. 

2. Set Your Bottle Upright 24 Hours In Advance

If you have already chosen the wine, you will be opening it. If it's in a rack formation, you will need to stand it up horizontally for up to 24 hours before opening it. This is so any sediment that has gathered in the bottle can slip down to the bottom.

This makes pouring and decanting the wine a lot easier and will also mean the sediment will be removed from most of the wine liquid. This ensures a better finish of the wine and for it to be cleaner and taste better.  

3. Select a Decanter for the Wine 

Any top-class sommelier will recommend that you need to use a proper decanter to decant your wine into. Decanters help with aerating the wine, which in turn enhances the aromas and taste of the wine. This is done by allowing the wine to react with the oxygen when poured into the decanter, providing a softer and cleaner taste. 

Decanting is especially necessary when dealing with red wines that have been left to age from anywhere between 5-10 years or more. The aging process will allow sediment to develop in the bottle, leaving a gritty finish and often a bitter flavor in the mouth.  

Proper decantation and removal of any build up in aged wine are essential in ensuring that you are left with high quality and luxurious tasting wine at the end.

4. Removing the Capsule and Cork 

When removing the capsule and cork ready to pour into your decanter, you want to make sure that you don't have any of the cork come off and fleck into the wine. This can be an issue if the wine is particularly aged and the cork has aged also. 

You mustn't be shy when it comes to thrusting the corkscrew into the cork. If you don't screw it in deep enough, there is a change that the cork could snap in half. 

Once you have the corkscrew firmly implanting in the cork, twist upwards and gently wiggle the cork if it is partially stubborn or doesn't want to come out. 

5. Decant Your Wine Slowly 

Once you have removed the cork and wiped down the bottle, it's time to pour it into the decanter. This needs to be done very carefully and slowly. It allows the oxygen to react with the wine and prevents the sediment from being disturbed at the bottom. 

6. Identify Where the Sediment Is 

Inspect your wine bottle carefully and work out where the sediment has begun to settle in the bottle. Sediment isn't always the easiest to spot. If you need to, you can always shine a light or torch on the bottle to make it better to identify and see.

Once your bottle starts to run a cloudy color or you can see specks of dust or sediment, it's time to stop pouring. This is usually a couple of sips at the end of the bottle. This bit of wine can be discarded and not added to the decanted bottle of wine. 

7. How Long Before You Can Drink the Wine?

This is a hotly contested topic between master sommeliers; however, the general rule is that wines aged for 15 or so years don't need as much time decanted as younger or full-bodied wines.  

Older or more delicate wines need approximately 30 minutes of decanting time, whereas younger and stronger wine benefit from an hour or even longer.

If you're concerned about how long to decant your chosen wine, why not ask a local wine merchant in your area what they would recommend. 

How to Decant Wine: Where Do I Find Out More?

We hope this article on the 7 top tips on how to decant wine like a pro has given you all the information you need about caring for your wine. 

Proper storage spaces that can store your wine at the correct temperature can ensure that your wine is always tasting its best. The same goes for making sure you have the correct vessels to decant your wine and give it enough time to breathe.

If you're interested in any of our products or would like to speak to someone about the decanting process, contact us directly!

Storage and preservation advice... From EuroCave, France.

 

Storage and preservation advice... From EuroCave France.

Did you know? All wines mature at the same temperature, whether underground or in an electric wine cabinet.

Maturing cabinets EuroCave reproduces all of the criteria required for effectively maturing wines, in this way recreating, on a smaller scale, the ideal storage conditions found in a natural cellar. 5 criteria are essential for a wine to reach its full potential:

  • A constant temperature - For optimal wine maturing, it is necessary to have a stable temperature of 10°C - 14°C, whatever the external temperature is.
  • Suitable humidity levels - It is essential to maintain suitable humidity levels, between 50 and 80%. The ideal humidity level is 50 - 80%. Below 50%, the cork could dry out causing the wine to leech out. Above 80%, condensation could appear on the bottles and the labels could peel off. Mould may even develop if there is insufficient air circulation.
  • Ideal ventilation - it is essential to ensure there is sufficient air circulation or mould and bacteria could develop.
  • Maximum protection from light - For optimal maturation, wine must be protected from all sources of light: only darkness prevents the deterioration of tannins by oxidation. Direct sunlight containing UV rays causes irreparable damage to wine. Indirect light is also harmful. In the long term, it can break down the structure of the wine and dilute it.
  • Absence of vibrations - In order to mature in optimal conditions, wine must be protected from vibrations, which break down the molecules of some of wine's chemical compounds.