Remember the days when you could bet on a £5 bottle of wine tasting good? I always found it applied more to red than white actually. In fact, I struggle to remember the last time I really enjoyed a white that cost less than say, £6 a bottle. That is unless I think back to those teenage years when I took a liking to Lambrusco (how embarrassing).
Sadly, if you’re spending the mere £4.59 that the supermarket asks for this ‘vinho verde’, you simply have to set your expectations low. If it doesn’t make you pucker up like a cod sucking on a lemon and vow not to take another sip, it’s done OK.
Before we prepare to potentially imitate that unhappy fish, I’m going to throw you a few facts on vinho verde. That can’t hurt, can it?
1. The term literally means ‘green wine’.
2. ‘Green’ does not refer to the colour. It refers to the wine’s youthfulness. Some vinho verde is red.
3. The style typically has a slight spritz, coupled with high acidity.
Our example turned out to have grassy aromas along with lemon and orchard fruits. Nothing unusual about that in a white wine, but impressive considering the price, especially as those fruits are also easy to detect on your palate. But actually, it’s not your typical white table wine.
True to the style, there is a slight spritz. There’s also high acidity, but it’s charmingly and cleverly balanced by a touch of sweetness. The first sip will take you by surprise, all the more so if you didn’t know what to expect. Once your palate has adjusted though, which was at the second sip in my case, this wine really does bring a smile to the face. Quite different to the expression we feared we might be displaying.
This is a fantastic bargain to be enjoyed at any time, but I think it’s true forte is as a ‘party wine’. Grab a few bottles, bring out the olives, breadsticks and dips and watch your guests merrily quaff, nibble and gossip the evening away. They probably won’t ask how much the wine cost, but if they do, tell them whatever you like.