Vinho verde is an odd wine, and not just because it’s green. It’s a still wine that can be fizzy, and some can be almost as carbonated as beer. There isn’t much varietal or producer difference; one vinho verde tastes pretty much like another vinho verde (and many of them are, in fact, the same wine, made by the same producer, but with different labels for different retailers).
Yet there is something charming about the wine, which comes from Portugal. Vinho verde doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not. It’s a a cheap, simple wine made for hot weather, with low alcohol and sweetish green apple fruit, and it doesn’t require tasting panels or long discussions. The only caveat? Drink it well chilled, even colder than white wine, or it can taste like day-old beer.
Our vinho verde primer is here. This year, I splurged and bought the Nobilis ($7, purchased, available at Central Market), which costs a couple of dollars more than most vinho verdes. It was a little more sophisticated than many of its brethren — more fizzy with less obvous green apple and less sweetness. It was the ideal wine for a 100-degree afternoon, and I’m not ashamed to say I put an ice cube in it to make it even colder.