Turning logic somewhat on its head, I recommend drinking vinho verde during the fall months in addition to those hot summer months. You might ask why, and would certainly be correct to do so. The key is acidity, perhaps the singularly most important component in making a wine food-friendly and versatile.
Think about it, around this time of the year we are (well, we in the northern states) having hearty fare, warm fare, food to survive on. We're also having holiday parties!
Holiday parties invariably involve alliteration..wait..no...that was an awful joke. Picture tables full of various finger foods, bodies packed into an overly heated room, and that weird guy taking pictures of his ass on a copy machine. And cake. Ring any bells? Do you really want to be drinking the 22 year old social media interns jungle juice? Is your company cool enough to spring for real Champagne at their parties?
A "no" answer to either question indicates you should try vinho verde at the office parties or other holiday gatherings. Lots of acidity, low alcohol (so you can drink a lot!), and the potential to look reasonably cool and sophisticated make this delightfully quaffable Portuguese sipper worthy of consideration. Oh and it's a massive crowd pleaser too.
Let's talk about some bottles of vinho verde then. Each of these wines is readily available in most major markets. Don't hesitate to email me if you need help finding one.
2010 Trajarinho Vinho Verde: A blend of 60% alvarinho, 40% trajadura. Bright nose of cut grass, flowers, green apple, and hints of apricot. Impressive complexity for such an inexpensive wine. On the palate a slight effervescence reveals more of the apples and flowers, sweet pear, and touches of green. Vibrant acidity creates a nice finish, clean and compact. I would happily pair this with fried foods, Mexican cuisine, or tapas plates. $9. 11.5% abv.
2010 Grinalda Vinho Verde: This was perhaps the most simple of the bunch, with aromas of citrus and sea breeze. It lacked the verve of the above wines, relying almost solely on a bright acidic streak through the center. Tasted later in the day, I suspect that this wine was just a simple, bulk vinho verde. 11.5% abv. $14 SRP.
2009 Casa de Vila Verde Alvarinho Minho: Fresh lemons and ocean breezes waft out of the glass in this wine made in a sub-region of vinho verde. Although there is a bit more alcohol, it helps lend weight to the tropical fruit and lemon flavors that come through on the palate. There is a slight bittering on the finish that distracts from what could be an excellent wine, and I felt that this might be past its peak already. Still, an interesting exercise into a tiny sub-region. 13.5% abv. $11 SRP.
It's not often I get a chance to taste through this many wines from a single region, but taste I did! Some of these wines were still quite good on the second day, retaining that tiny bit of fizz and mouthwatering acidity. It's important that these wines be viewed for what they are, simple, tasty, and accessible. That's why I suggest them for the holidays. When you're cooking for a crowd and don't want to break out the Champagne but still need refreshing relief, why not a cheap, glug-worthy vinho verde?
These wines were samples for review purposes.