Thursday, October 27, 2011

Espiral Vinho Verde

Like many of you, Laima (my gorgeous wife, who writes the blog Women's Endurance Gear) and I love trying inexpensive bottles (often from Trader Joe’s) and have found eminently drinkable examples for under $5. One such find is the Espiral Vinho Verde.

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine from the Minho region in the far north of the country. The name literally means "Green Wine" (red or white), referring to its youthful freshness that leads to a very slight green color on the edges of the wine. The region is characterized by its many small growers, which numbered more than 30,000 as of 2005. The Vinhos Verdes are light and fresh, and are intended to be drunk within a year. At less than one bar of CO2 pressure, they do not quite qualify as semi-sparkling wines but do have a definite pétillance. The white Vinho Verde is very fresh, due its natural acidity, with fruity and floral aromas that depend on the grape variety. The white wines are lemon- or straw-coloured, around 8.5 to 11% alcohol, and are made from local grape varieties Loureiro, Arinto, Trajadura, Avesso and Azal (Good way to get a bunch of grape varietals for the Wine Century Club right?, only many of the wines don’t list which grapes have been used.). Vinho Verdes are the daily drink of choice for many Portuguese.

The color is very light yellow with (possibly imagined) light green edge. The initial scent is of citrus, very light and fresh. There is some minerality that follows, but very subtly. A decent amount of acidity and a nice citrusy finish make this a very pleasant wine to drink, though not necessarily savor. We drank this wine on its own and with some light salads (mine had a sweet and tangy sesame ginger dressing) – in all cases, the wine tasted great.

At around $4 at our Trader Joe’s, well-worth bringing home.


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