Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde: crisp, light, fresh, possessed of low alcohol and lots of mineral, usually with a hint of effervescence: nothing better at a picnic table or the beach in summer, especially if you’ve value in mind. I have reviewed other Vinho Verde wines here before, so I will pass on the background and cut to the chase, except to note that this wine is produced in the Minho region in the far north of Portugal.

I bought this wine, the 2008 Espiral Vinho Verde, at Trader Joe’s Wine Shop in Union Square. My conclusion is the same as many others’: buy this wine by the case. At $3.99, you simply will not find a better bargain. A sun-bleached straw color in the glass, the nose features aromas of lemon and other citrus zest, leading to crisp lemon-lime fruit braced by killer acidity in the mouth. Nearly tart in its acidity, but attractively so: lean and cleansing, a great companion to shrimp barbecued in a lime-based marinade, or light fish dishes like sole, basa, or halibut.

Vinho Verde: what wine is better for casual sipping at the beach in summer? That rhetorical question out of the way, let us focus on this showing from the Minho region of Portugal. Made from the Loureiro grape, the 2008 Gazela is a light-bodied, crisp and fruity wine showing citrus notes on the nose, primarily lemon zest and apricot aromas. In the mouth, firm acidity balances the citrus and slight hints of melon fruit, making this another decent pairing for shellfish like shrimp or lighter fish offerings, such as sauteed sole or flounder. Light carbonation makes this wine slightly effervescent. Incredible value. $5.