From Shutter: The first time we experienced vinho verde was sitting at the bar at Seabras Marisqueira in Newark, where it seemed everyone was quaffing the refreshing wine with their seafood. Since then, due in large part to Ted’s ongoing photo project in the Ironbound section of the city, we’ve become big fans of anything Portuguese, especially, the wines.
Ted recently attended a vinho verde tasting at the hip restaurant Saxon + Parole in Manhattan, co-sponsored by the European Union and the Comissao de Viticultura da Regiao dos Vinhos Verdes (the organization of vinho verde producers). The importers and distributors represented included our friends at Jose Maria da Fonseca (imported by Palm Bay International), who have been instrumental in introducing us to Portuguese wines.
Vinho verdes are made in a demarcated region in the Northwest of Portugal from a variety of grapes, by many small producers. The name vinho verde literally means “green wine” but is translated as “young wine.” We generally think of the variety as a white, but it there are red and roses too – all are meant to be consumed within a year of bottling. The whites range from pale – almost green – to straw color, and are mildly fruity, light, crisp and refreshing, a Portuguese version of pinot grigio (but better). Some, like some of the fruity roses, have a hint of sparkle. I’ve never tasted the reds, which are not terribly popular here in the U.S. and Ted said they were sparsely represented at the event.
Vinho verde has become our go-to wine for the warmer weather. Its relatively low alcohol content, budget price (many are under $10 a bottle) and food-friendly characteristics make it an easy choice with the seafood and salads that we’re eating now. The wines are also a perfect apertif. As the Portuguese say “Saude”!