Vinho Verde is a unique product, misunderstood by some but loved by many, with a blend of aromas and petillance that makes it a delicious delightful aperitif.
The DOC is located in the northwest of Portugal and embraced by compact valleys and the rivers Douro and Minho. It has a coastal Atlantic settling, making the climate mild and damp.
The area gets an average rainfall of around 1500 mm, much of which is in the spring and fall.
This makes planting and harvesting very challenging, and has resulted in an alternative way of planting. The vines are trained along strings and wires that arch high overhead. Such a process is done to allow air to flow around and to avoid rot and fungus.
Major soil compositions are granite and sand, while some areas have schist or slate and clay predominate. The two most successful white wine vaieties are Alvarinho and Loureiro, both producing very aromatic wines.
There was a time in the 18th century when Vinho Verde was more than sweetness and light – a time before grapes were trained on trees and trellises to save land for food crops and treated more like a food crop themselves. Top producers of estate wines in Vinho Verde are now returning to
this heritage, aiming to combine modern viticulture and winemaking techniques to tradition to
craft serious white wines. Fruity when young and capable of aging for several years, these are world-class wines that stand in complete contrast to the branded wines, representing an exciting wine style that is awaiting discovery.
The DOC Vinho Verde has also permitted fully sparkling wines since 1999 – a growing and promising venture. And there is a lot of red Vinho Verde, too - dark, high in acidity, low in alcohol, made principally from the late-ripening, red-fleshed Vinhão grape.