This is the age of big powerful red wines and rich high-alcohol whites. It is a time when wines seem to be judged by their power and structure more than their subtlety and elegance.
To me, part of the joy of wine comes from their diversity in style and how different wines fit my different moods. My wine moods are driven by my choice of food, the season and temperature outside, the company I am keeping and a variety of whims. Sometimes my wine needs to be thought provoking and other times I want a wine that is beautiful by virtue of its simplicity.
If Vinho Verde had a mood it would be one of relaxed celebration, a carefree moment in life when one is able to let the worries of the day slip away. It is a wine to drink and not to ponder.
Vinho Verde comes to us from the Minho province of Portugal. The wine is made from grapes with names like Loureiro, Trajadura , Pedernã and Azal. Grapes whose names you can forget as they are seldom seen on their own. The grapes are grown and the wines are made by simple hard working people. They train the vines high off the ground so they can use the space below them for crops to feed their families. They are typically an assemblage of many small grower’s grapes fermented and blended by negociants.
Vinho Verde literally means “Green Wine” a reference to the fact that it is best served young in age. It is typically relatively low in alcohol (between 8-11% alcohol) and high in acidity. This acidity provides a refreshing component to the wine and is surrounded by wonderful citrus flavors. The wine is very light in body and has signature spritz to it; not quite sparkling but not quite still. The spritz gives it a slight, soda pop character that is ever so refreshing. What is truly unique about this wine is that it is amazingly thirst quenching. It is the kind of wine that you could drink after running a marathon (though I do not suggest this)
This week we are featuring Gazela Vinho Verde. It is a wine that is produced by Sogrape Vinho of Portugal. This is a company that started in 1942 with one simple wine called Mateus. It was from these humble beginnings that Sogrape built a giant firm that today represents many of Portugal’s best wines. Gazela was one of the first Vinho Verdes introduced to the United States back in 1984 and has consistently produced great, easy drinking, modestly priced Vinho Verde.
Looking for that new summer wine that is light and refreshing? Look no further, Gazela Vinho Verde is the perfect summer glass, but best to buy a few bottles because it slides down ever so easy.