Friday, June 24, 2011

Opala Vinho Verde (2009)

Generally, everyone talks about wines in two colors ... red and white.  However, as I have come to learn, wines come in other colors.  In the northern Portuguese region of Minho,  winemakers cultivating vines of Loureiro, Arinto, Trajadura, Avesso, Azal and other grapes.  With these grapes, the winemakers produce a "green" wine, commonly referred to by its Portuguese name, "Vinho Verde."

Vinho Verde has its own Denominacao de Origem Controlada (DOC), much like Italy has its own DOC and France has its own AOC.  The Vinho Verde DOC is divided into nine subregions.  The subregions are: Amarante, Ave, Baiao, Basto, Cavado, Lima, Mancao e Malgaso, Paiva and Soussa.  (I am missing a lot of accent marks, I really need to figure out how to add them to blog posts.)  There are also two special designations for Vinho Verde: Vinho Verde Alvarinho and Vinho Verde Alvarinho Espumante.  The Vinho Verde Alvarinho is made from Alvarinho grapes from Moncao and has more alcohol than the typical Vinho Verde.  Although I could not confirm this, I believe the Vinho Verde Alvarinho Espumante is just a more sparkling version of the Vinho Verde Alvarinho.  (It would make sense because "espumante" means sparkling in Portuguese). 

I recently purchased a bottle of the Opala Vinho Verde, which, judging by the 9% alcohol, is not a Vinho Verde Alvarinho.  Still,  this wine is a very good Vinho Verde.  The Opala Vinho Verde pours almost like a sparking wine, with bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.  The aroma of this wine is full of fresh fruit, such as granny smith apples and sliced pears.  The fruit in the aromas follow through in the taste.  The apple and pear flavors are found throughout the wine, particularly in the forward and the finish.  The body of this wine is light, crisp and refreshing, making this wine a good one to enjoy on a hot and hazy summer afternoon.

The Opala Vinho Verde would pair well with a variety of dishes.  I think that the rules for pairing this wine with food would be similar to the pairing rules for other crisp, fruity white wines.  Generally, this wine would go well with dishes that have some heat or spice.  A very spicy dish would most likely overpower the wine.  As with many white wines, the Vinho Verde can be paired with with appetizers, chicken and seafood.

During my research for this post, I came across a lot of positive reviews for this wine.  I guess this is going to be one more such review because I think that the Opala Vinho Verde is a very good wine.   This wine is available at Whole Foods Market for about $8.99 or $9.99 a bottle.


For more about Vinho Verde wines, check out Wikipedia.

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