Vinho Verde
Grapes Varieties
The Language Of Portugal

The largest demarcated wine region in Portugal covers the whole northwest. Rain-bearing winds support intensive cultivation, and the countryside between the Rivers Minho and Douro is some of the most densely populated in rural Iberia. Around 80,000 grape-growers farm 25,000ha (61,750 acres). The vines grow over special pergolas, leaving room for other crops to grow underneath. Raising the vineyard canopy also reduces the risk of disease in hot weather.

Vinho Verde (meaning 'green wine") is frequently misinterpreted. The name has no connection with the colour of the wine, which may be either red or white. Nor is it made from "green" grapes harvested before they are fully ripe (although wines are low in alcohol and high in natural acidity). It is so named because it is made to be drunk young and fresh, retaining a slight petillance or sparkle.

The Portuguese tend to drink their wines bone dry and in the year following the harvest. Few bottles of Vinho Verde display a vintage date. Wines made for export are often sweetened and may lack freshness from spending too long in bottle.

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