I moseyed into Mission Wines yesterday, seeking respite both from the 95 degree-plus weather and the drudgery of life.
But with what wine could I seek respite?
I am a big lover of reds–during warmer weather I am apt to go for lighter reds, such as beaujolais, or, lacking anything suitable, to mix one- or two-day-old red wine with good Korean cider (such as Chilsung Cider, which is cleaner and lighter than, say, Sprite, with a pleasant touch of strawberry). This 60-40 blend of red wine and cider, served over ice, is delicious and a great way to beat the heat and dispose of wine that is past its prime.
I didn’t have any old red wine on hand: I was fresh out, in fact, and looking for something quick, cheap, and refreshing. A long, tapered green bottle caught my eye: the 2007 vinho verde branco adamado from the Adega Cooperativa de Ponte de Lima (whew!).
This vinho verde is a mix of different white varietals, including the obscure loureiro, trajadura, and pederna grapes. This vinho verde is great: very light body with high acidity, mouth-puckering tartness approximating green apples and citrus, low to medium sweetness, and a pleasant effervescence caused by the addition of carbon dioxide before bottling. (Thanks to tvinoronquillo at http://www.cellertracker.com for this picture!)
I couldn’t really think of any specific food to try and match this wine with: the vague term “picnic” came to mind, as did the words “sun”, “beach”, “girls in summer clothing”, “public drunkenness”, and “fun”. It’s a fun wine, fun to drink, easygoing, surely a popular choice for any spring or summer gathering that requires something a bit more “adult” than soda. At $9.99, it’s ALMOST the same price as soda (you know… gourmet sodas).
The wine closest to vinho verde in my mind is txakolina, the delightful fizzy white wine from the Basque region of Spain. The vinho verde from Adega Cooperativa de Ponte de Lima, however, is sweeter and juicier–the txakolina I’ve had is leaner, drier, and has a bit more of a mineral edge.
Some interesting information about vinho verde: it literally means “green wine” and is meant to be consumed very young–so soon, in fact, that most producers don’t even bother with vintage dates. I had considered vinho verde to be exclusively a white wine, but in fact a large percentage of vinho verde produced and consumed in Portugal is red.
Your homework assignment: buy a bottle of vinho verde and drink it up! Extra credit–find a bottle of RED vinho verde and let me know what you think!