Wine of the Week

Portugal's Vinho Verde region produces delicious wine at a reasonable price

Wine of the Week

Vinho Verde

One of the nicest white wines for a spring quaff comes from the Portuguese region of Vinho Verde (veen-yo vare-djay). If you imagine the Iberian Peninsula as a head, the Vinho Verde region is at the forehead. The area makes the Seattle-Portland, Ore., axis look positively desertlike, so the grapes never get really ripe, rendering wines with bracing acidity and a low alcohol content, all the better for taking big sips. They also have just the slightest touch of fizz, just enough to tickle the tongue.

White Vinho Verde can be made from a blend of up to 20 grapes, though, in general, winemakers use Loureiro, Azal Branco, Arinto, Trajadura, and Alvarinho. That last grape has become quite famous (and expensive) in its Spanish version – Albariño from neighboring Rías Baixas. Which brings us to Vinho Verde's principal attraction: price.

One of the best versions coming to Austin is called Twin Vines Vinho Verde, a product of the José Maria da Fonseca winery, founded in 1834. All the charm you could ever hope for, with delightful light lemon and floral aromas and lovely flavors that will keep your attention, all for $6.99. Bartholomew Broadbent is the son of Michael Broadbent, widely considered one of the world's top wine experts. That reputation buys a lot of access, so Bartholomew has been able to hunt the world for small but incredible vineyards and wineries. His Broadbent Vinho Verde focuses on the Loureiro, Trajadura, and Arinto grapes, and he produces an even lighter wine, albeit one with subtle aromas and gorgeous balance. It runs $9.99. Try either wine with steamed clams, flounder, or all by itself.

Twin Vines is available at many of the area H-E-Bs, while the Broadbent Vinho Verde is at Spec's and Central Market.

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Vinho Verde, Twin Vines, Bartholomew Broadbent, José Maria da Fonseca

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