Green wines are fresh

Dear Wine Ladies,

I’m interested in the Portuguese wine Vinho Verde, which your guest touched upon last week on your radio show. I just caught the tail end, missed out on some of the info as well as the explanation for why it is referred to as “green wine”. Does it have to do with the colour or does it have the same significance as it does here in Canada? I thoroughly enjoyed a glass last evening and have to say that after tuning in, I’m really looking forward to exploring some of the other wines discussed, as they also fit perfectly into my current budget!

Brian

Dear Brian,

Thanks for tuning in and for the great question that has many others wondering about as well. Vinho Verde is actually the name of a DOC region in northwest Portugal that produces predominantly white wines, but a very small amount of red and rose as well. The wines are produced inland from the coast, which is called Costa Verde, or Green Coast with the lush vegetation and abundant greenery. The significance of the moniker “green wine” however is not about the region, nor the colour of the wine. These wines are meant to be enjoyed in their youth, when they are fresh and crisp showing off their wonderful fruit. It is indeed a delightful affordable wine, awesome when paired with anything from the sea or served as an aperitif to awaken the taste buds! On this side of the pond, our interpretation of a “green wine” is totally different.
Here it is used as an unflattering tasting term suggesting the grapes used for the wine did not reach full ripeness prior to being picked.

In terms of great value, Portugal is definitely one of the wine growing regions that can deliver big on that count. With the adoption of modern technology and advances in viticulture, excellent quality wines are being produced and offered at extremely competitive prices. Although Portugal does produce wines made with the classical varietals, it is the ones made with their own indigenous grapes that we recommend you explore. Great value, interesting and exciting wines to be sure.
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