The words “Vinho Verde” conjure up a particular image in the minds of wine lovers: usually that of a tall green bottle of spritzy, refreshing and (usually very) inexpensive Portuguese white wine that rarely speaks to the soul but sure as hell speaks to a parched throat on a hot Summer’s day. It’s the kind of wine you buy by the case (and with some very good examples to be found well under $10 a bottle, you can afford it), toss into a cooler, and lug out for hot, sunny day picnics.
In essence, Vinho Verde can have a soft spot in the hearts of wine geeks (this one included), specifically because they’re wines for imbibing and not wines for contemplating.
Just across the border from Portugal’s Vinho Verde region – in Spain – however, you will find whites made from the same varieties (Verdehlo, Loureiro, etc.), made in similar climates, but that cost several times the price as a typical Vinho Verde. The message? The Spanish versions of wines from those grapes are just more… graves than their Portuguese counterparts.
It’s a situation that’s often left wine geeks like me wondering why the Portuguese don’t get a bit more serious themselves when it comes to Vinho Verde. Nothing against simple Vinho Verde of course (in fact I’d personally be pretty pissed off if those inexpensive quaffers dropped out of the marketplace), but why not add a few bottlings that take Alvarinho or Lourerio to a more thought-provoking level?
Why not get all graves on us?
Turns out that finding serious Vinho Verde is not a question of Portuguese desire or capability, but of production and distribution.
Because Vinho Verde is, in fact, trying to raise the profile of their wines to heights lofty enough to match the vines that grow up (and up, and up) the high trellises that dot the area (actually, the vines can be found growing up just about anything in Vinho Verde, the better to protect them from mold and mildew in the wet weather). And it’s not just still whites that are in their crosshairs – they’re also targeting reds and sparklers (of both color persuasions) – and if the wines of Afros are any indication, they’re on to something…
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I mean it. Don’t go hatin’ on wine scores just because they get abused. Or because you (like me) don’t care for them much yourself.
If you really want to change things in the wine world, then go out there and buy wines that appeal to your own preferences, and based on recommendations from sources that you trust – irrespective of whether or not those recommendations are based on scores.
In this short video, I explain why I think wine scores/ratings have their place (gasp!), and why it’s not the fault of the scores or rating systems themselves that they get relentlessly abused in wine media, retail and even by consumers.
At the end, things get a bit… trippy… Also, monkeys are involved. Whatever. You’ve been warned…
Hey East Coast Wine Peeps!
It’s that time of year again – the time when I miss the annual NY Wine Expo because I’ll be in Napa. Doh!
But just because I won’t be there doesn’t mean that you can’t get in on the fun via 1WineDude.com – and you can get a $10 discount on the price of the Grand Tastings on Friday and Saturday, just by being a 1WineDude.com reader!
The 4th Annual New York Wine Expo is scheduled for February 25-27, 2011 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC, and will offer the opportunity to seriously up your wine tasting IQ by sampling over 600 wines from over 150 winemakers from around the globe in the Grand Tastings.
To score your discount, enter the Discount Code WINEDUDE when you order your tix online.
In the past, the Grand Tasting has received mixed reviews from 1WineDude.com readers – some find the big crowds off-putting, others are more inclined to brave the large turnout for the chance at networking and getting to taste the large array of wines from all over the world.
Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle – I love a good crowd, meaning a crowd that’s passionate and energized with a feel-good vibe going (and of course I dig the chance to taste a nice variety of fine wines), but if too many folks get plastered because they’re not spitting then things can get ugly. And if that happens, those big events can sometimes turn into big bug-outs.
Where do you stand on big wine tasting events? Good? Bad? Indifferent?
If you’re going, check out my mini survival guide for getting through these big tasting events alive.