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Young love

This Portuguese wine is scarce, but leave it to your local favorites to bring the best of the best.

Greg Horton June 27th, 2012

The Portuguese wine Vinho Verde (just ignore the H) is inexpensive, delicious, crisp ... and scarce in the metro.

Credit: Jordan Ensminger

However, the ones available are priced under $15, and a few are under $10. The better news is that price is no indication of poor quality.

Vinho Verde is not a varietal.

In fact, nearly 20 white grapes are allowed in its blends. The name translates as “green wine,” meaning young and ripe. It can apply to reds and rosés, but only white is available in Oklahoma.

These are light-bodied wines, many with a natural effervescence just short of being sparkling. They pair well with seafood, but work great as patio wines for hot summer months.

The most remarkable thing about Vinho Verde: It’s virtually impossible to find a bad one. It won’t blow your mind, but it’s a solid value.

“Vinho Verde is the classic hotweather wine,” said Ian Clark, a certified sommelier at Broadway Wine Merchants, 824 N. Broadway. “You’re never going to get complexity or depth of character, but you’re going to get consistency, razor-sharp acidity and refreshing notes of Key lime.”

One of the few places in town offering Vinho Verde by the glass is 1492, 1207 N. Walker, where the Twin Vines Vinho Verde pairs excellently with the restaurant’s ceviche.

“That’s a perfect pairing. I’d almost be tempted to pour the wine into the ceviche,” Clark said, not joking.

Vinho Verde is meant to be consumed within roughly a year of production, which keeps the cost down: no aging, no storage, no oak.

Broadway Wine Merchants has four Vinho Verdes on the shelf, including Famega, which might be the best of the crop.

Credit: Jordan Ensminger

 “[It] finishes firm, long and delicious, with lingering notes of minerals and citrus peel,” said wine critic Stephen Tanzer, who awarded the Famega 88 points.

In 2011, Wine & Spirits magazine awarded Winery of the Year to Aveleda Fonte; its Vinho Verde is also at Broadway. Solid acidity, crisp green apples and limes, and a clean finish make Aveleda a great value.

Among the selection at Byron’s Liquor, 2322 N. Broadway, is Arca Nova, which uncharacteristically has a bit of stone fruit in the mix. A price under $10, moderate acidity and lemon-lime citrus flavors make it an easy choice.

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