A Portuguese wine whose name translates to “green wine” for the fact that it’s bottled young, vinho verde is an effervescent white that’s heavy with tart citrusy notes—think lime, green apple, and nectarine—and sometimes lets a hint of summery melon sneak in. (Reds and rosés do exist in vinho verde-land, although they’re rarely to be found in American wine stores.)
Best of all, it’s scary affordable. Most bottles fall in the under-$10 category, making it a zippy alternative to Prosecco or Cava (both of which should not be bank-breakers either). This is a wine born for nights on the patio, backyard barbecues, and early al fresco happy hours—not something to hoard in your cellar for decades. It’s young, it’s hip, it’s fun; take it out on the town for a spin!
Although even Trader Joe’s has a version of vinho verde, a $4 bottle of Espiral that admittedly I’ve never tried, and my house brand is the widely-found Gazela—$6 at the local Shopper’s Vineyard—by all means, take a spin through your local wine shop to find some less-obvious bottlings. The lovely and well-stocked Angelbeck’s in Upper Montclair stocks the steely Barca and the slightly sweeter Aliança, both $7.99.
And may I suggest cracking open a bottle or two of vinho verde to make an unusually refreshing sangria? This version plays up the wine’s fruity palate, while the slight effervescence means it goes down quickly. Maybe a little too quickly.
Vinho Verde Sangria
Prep time:15 minutes
Total time:15 minutes
Makes 8-10 servings
- 2 ripe peaches, cubed
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cubed
- 1/2 pound green grapes, sliced in half
- 2 750ml bottles vinho verde
- 1 cup triple sec or Cointreau
Combine all ingredients in a large (3-4 quart) pitcher. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill the wine and let the flavors meld.
Serve over ice.