Vinho Verde: Portuguese Wine Speciality
Vinho Verde comes from the river basin between the Potuguese-Spanish rivers Douro and Minho. It is bordered in the West by the Atlantic Ocean. The maritime, extremely wet climate with hot summers and cold, rainy winters is characteristic for the region, and annual rainfall can be as high as 2000 millimetres per cubic meter. Due to these conditions, the grapevines used for the production of this Portuguese white wine are often grown on pergolas.
The description ‘green wine’ does not refer to the colour of the grapes or the end product. It reflects the young, fresh character of these wines. Both white and red grapes are used to produce this Portuguese wine speciality. Alongside white and red Vinho Verdes, rosé varieties are also available, however the white type dominates the international market. White grape varieties recommended for the production of Vinho Verde are Albariño, Avesso, Loureira and Treixadura, although there are a few other approved grape varieties. There is also a wide variety of red grape varieties approved for the production of red Vinho Verde.
Vinho Verde Wine: Light & Effervescent, Naturally Sparkling with Rich, Fruity Notes
The vinification of these wines demands vintners who are both experienced and intuitive. Vinho Verde wines go through a very short fermentation process and are characterised by their high level of acidity. The alcohol content of these wines ranges from between only 8.5 to 11 percent, which contributes to their light, bubbly character. During the fermentation process, the malic acid in the must is converted into natural carbon dioxide. Low quality wines which do not fall under the jurisdiction of the DOC are often carbonated artificially.
With the exception of a few export quality wines which contain some residual sugar, Vinho Verdes have an acidic accent and are bulk aged to almost bone-dryness. A classic Vinho Verde has a light sparkle and exhibits distinctive apple, peach or citrus notes. Red Vinho Verdes, which are consumed almost exclusively locally, are high in tannins and have a markedly deep colour.