Summer = Vinho Verde

Thursday July 11, 2013

By Wendy Ponte

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="170" caption="Vinho Verde"][/caption] I am, generally speaking, more of a red wine drinker than white. I usually like a glass of white wine on a blazing hot day, sitting by a pool with my sunglasses on and a good book. There is one exception to that, however, and that is Vinho Verde. In fact, drinking a glass of Vinho Verde is really one of my ways of marking that summer is actually here. This year that was kind of confusing. First it got super hot where I live in Connecticut in late May. Then the temperature dropped and it rained for days and days. Make that weeks and weeks--as it did all over the Northeast. So it is only now, at the beginning of July, that I finally purchased my first bottle of Vinho Verde of the summer. For those who don't know, Vinho Verde is one of Portugal's signature wines, along with Port and Madeira, but much less well known. That is changing now and exports to the United States are booming. Vinho Verde is also a completely different kind of a drink than either Port or Madeira. Those are hearty red dessert wines, kind of a dessert all in themselves in fact. Vinho Verde is light and a bit tart. It also has a light effervescence to it, which makes it even more summery. I always say that Vinho Verde is Portugal's national soda pop. Not that it is sweet at all; in fact it is rather more on the dry side. But it is bubbly and the Portuguese drink it about as frequently as Americans drink Coke, or at least I think so. Growing up, I don't recall my family ever drinking this wine. They tended more towards whichever Uncle Manny's homemade wine happened to be around. These drinks I recall as rather thick and syrupy. I'm not sure when Vinho Verde hit my radar, but I'm glad it did! Today I am drinking it with a sprig of lavender from the garden.

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