Vinho Verde Wine Tasting

By: Zena Rebello

I recently attended a charming garden party hosted by Ellen Douglas, a producer of CNBC's Wine Portfolio and Rea Kelly, a wonderfully talented local Toronto artist. They graciously guided their guests on a tasting of Vinho Verde wines. The event was an intimate backyard gathering of wine, food and lifestyle bloggers all of whom were curious about sampling wine from a small region of Portugal, which sits on the northern border Spain. 

While dinning on an assortment of cheeses and charcuteries, our host described the lush, cool, rainy, green countryside of the region. The name, Vinho Verde, means ‘green wine’ and it is indicative of the region’s terrain as well as the age of the grapes. Grape varieties such as Loureiro, Trajadura, Arinto and Vinhao are picked before they mature and the wine is quickly bottled after the harvest to capture the grape's youthful character.

I engaged in stimulating conversations centered around wine and art with the guests. Kelly, exhibited some of her artwork and explained that to her, art, much like wine, was one of life’s great joys. As I eyed her work, admiring how she constructed each painting with dramatic colours, I couldn’t help but think about the bold reds, straw-coloured yellows and flowery pink colours of Vinho Verde wines. Wine with art make a truly formidable combination.

Throughout the evening I indulged with other guests in sampling a variety of white wines. As a red wine enthusiast, I assumed I would not enjoy the Vinho Verde wines as much as my favourite shiraz, but with each sample I quickly warmed up to them. All of the wines that I sampled were expressive with distinct aromas and flavours and high in acidity. Each wine was aromatic and crisp with citrus, floral, pear and apple flavours. Additionally, due to the granite-based soils in the region, delicate hints of mineral were imbued in the wines. 

My favourite wine of the evening was the Gazela, which is a dry, lightly carbonated white wine with citrus notes. It is also very reasonably priced at $8.95 and available at the LCBO, which makes Vinho Verde wine even more attractive!

Zena Rebello is an environmental and atmospheric chemist by day and an ardent Muay Thai practitioner by night.