Winos! Oh how I have missed you! My apologies for the unplanned W2WK hiatus… Let’s chalk it up to needing a little time to transition from spring to summer wines… Now “seasonal wine” is not an official categorization of wine or anything. (Well, not as far as I wine know.) But I do know that for me there is a direct correlation between the increasing heat and the increasing desire for crisp and cold white wines.
So let’s consider this post the first W2WK post of the summer. Why? Well, (a) it is hot out… at least in Arizona, (b) I’m on a beach vacation while writing this post, and how does that not scream summer?!, (c) I’ve been wanting to post about one of my favorite “summer” wines…. Vinho Verde.
Divine Wine of the Week: Gazela Vinho Verde, Portugal
Price Range: $7.99 at Total Wine (cheap… I mean, inexpensive, and delish!)
Wino Assessment: This wine is great for a hot afternoon by the pool or by the beach. It is crisp and light with an appley/peachy flavor. And it also has a little bubbly factor to it, making it taste more like a “wine spritzer”. It’s definitely one of those wines that you keep drinking thinking it is fancy flavored soda, but then you stand up and realize that, no, it is in fact a beverage with alcohol.
The Wine: Vinho Verde is from the northwestern part of Portugal (Minho) – agriculture country. Most of Portugal’s white wine is made in this region… and if you are an astute Wino, you may be thinking, “but isn’t Vinho Verde a green wine?”. Well, Winos, I’m here to tell you it is not. (Even though they usually bottle Vinho Verde in a light green bottle possibly leading you to wonder about its color twice over.) So while it does mean “green wine”, the green is in reference to the fact that it is a young wine that is meant to be enjoyed very soon after it is made.
In general, Vinho Verdes are a neutral wine and often have “light peachy and floral characters”. (The Wine Bible) I definitely think this general description of Vinho Verde applies to Gazela’s as well as all other Vinho Verdes I have tasted. (I will take this moment to admit that I’m not sure I can say I could taste much difference between Vinho Verdes – I enjoy them all, but there’s not a lot of complexity there to make them particularly unique.)
Here’s what Total Wine says of the Gazela Vinho Verde:
“Here’s a zesty, light and crisp white offering bright lime and pear flavors with subtle spicy notes of ginger and even a hint of tangerine on the lively palate. Pure and clean, this is a truly refreshing wine.”
Woot! Spot on, baby. Then again, as noted above, this is a very simple wine that I think most people could sip and instantly describe as it has been described here. (But I’ll still pat myself on the back for a fairly accurate description.)
So what does one eat when enjoying some Vinho Verde? While I generally think any sort of summertime cook-out or BBQ could be enjoyed with a bottle of Gazela, it will go best with seafood or a more oily dish with a lot of strong flavors. Try it with grilled salmon or shrimp.
Bonus Fun Facts on Vinho Verde:
1. While Vinho Verde has a little spritz to it (coming from a dose of CO2 just before bottling), it is not classified as a sparkling wine.
2. “A large percentage of Vinho Verde is not white but red.” (The Wine Bible) This was definitely news to me. Apparently the red Vinho Verde is not exported outside of Portugal, so if you happen to be galavanting around Europe, stop in Portugal for a little of this special blend and report back!
[Source for Wine Know in this post is from The Wine Bible.]