Wine-growing region - Vinho Verde
In the north-western part of the country lies Minho, a land of dense vegetation and profound historic wealth. It was here that Portugal's first king, Dom Afonso Henriques, was born in the beginning of the 12th C, having then extended the kingdom to the south, in what was considered as one of the most heroic feats of the Christian Reconquest. The inheritance of a distant past is seen everywhere.
The name Vinho Verde, literally Green Wine, has no connection with the color of the wine, which is produced as white and red, but it simply refers to a young wine, not suited for aging, and that should be consumed as soon as it is being released on the market. For this reason, the majority of producers do not state the vintage in the label. Vinho Verde is the world’s largest demarcated wine region, covering some 7000 square kms in the northwest of Portugal (districts of Viana do Castelo, Braga, part of Porto, Aveiro and Viseu).
Vinhos Verdes are simple wines, light, having little alcohol, slightly effervescent, and usually characterized by fruity and flowery aromas. The white, dry or delicate, with refreshing piquancy, is excellent to go with fish or shellfish, and it’s the most commercialized out of the region (quite exported overseas in recent years). The most famous caste is the Alvarinho, which is put into bottles at the source, in several farms and palaces, like the exceptional Palácio da Brejoeira or Muralhas from Adega Cooperativa de Monção.
Another caste which I also like very much is Loureiro, a bit more acidic than Alvarinho but very refreshing. Commercialized by the cellars of Cooperativa de Ponte Lima, and Ponte da Barca, and included in other famous blended wines such as Quinta da Aveleda, Casal Garcia, and Gatão (the big cat).
The larger quantity produced, belongs to the red green wines which is the drink of local population and rarely exported. With a rich color and plenty blood-red foam, an alcoholic degree between 8º and 12º, is very refreshing and it must be drank on its way out of the barrel in clay mugs. It goes really well with the excellent local food like lamprey (catfish), chicken rice cooked with its blood (arroz de cabidela) and pork rojões.