Visiting Vinho Verde
A short trip to northern Portugal, focusing on new wave single-variety Vinho Verde

In April 2015 I went on a brief trip to northern Portugal with importer Nick Oakley. Nick wanted to plug something he's believed in for a while: single-variety Vinho Verde. We visited four producers who are leading the way with this concept.

Typical, traditional white Vinho Verde is a light, acidic, fresh, slightly spritzy concoction. It's not a wine that is taken seriously: it is meant to quench thirst. There's also a red version, which is tart, acidic and extremely vivid, tasting like an unfinished cask sample. Both red and white can work well with the local food, and I have a particular penchant for red Vinho Verde, which I find delicious in the right context. But normal people outside Portugal have never really got their heads around Vinho Verde, and it has been a hard sell, even though it is usually cheap.

Meanwhile, across the border in Galicia, there's been a lot of interest in Albariņo from Rias Baixas. These wines have had a lot of traction and fetch good prices. Albariņo is, of course, the same variety as Portugal's Alvarinho. Apart from the fact that they are from Spain, the difference is that they are made as more traditional dry white wines, without the spritz of Vinho Verde, and with a bit more body. 

So, the question: is there a market opportunity for more serious Vinho Verde, maintaining the delicious brightness that the Altantic-influenced climate brings but adding to it a bit of body and removing the effervescence? And might making single-variety examples help people understand these wines better? This is what I wanted to explore. And here are my reports.

Casal de Ventozela
Quinta de Gomariz
Cazas Novas
Quinta de Covela

See also:

Visiting Vinho Verde (2008) (series)

Wines tasted 04/15  
Find these wines with


Back to top