Gazela Vinho Verde 2010, Minho, Portugal

Depending on how much your government taxes you, this bottle will run you anywhere from 5 to 10 bucks across North America. Crap? No way. I have to admit that I have walked by this bottle a few times at the liquor store and judged the book by it’s price tag. I recently attended a Vinho Verde event and picked this particular bottle to blog about over some very good and more prestigious labels.

So what is Vinho Verde? The wine isn’t green as the name may suggest, in fact, the whites are generally speaking amongst the lightest shaded white wines out there, you could often mistake it for mineral water. Reds tend to be quite robustly coloured. Typically these wines have some fizz to them, but less than sparkling wine. They can be derived from any of a large number of local grapes and for the most part in the 8-11% in alcohol content, which is at the lower end of the scale. This is essentially an “anyghing goes” denomination as long as it light and refreshing.

The Gazela Vinho Verde caught my attention because it had a very wide flavour. From the start it smelled very fresh, like Ivory Soap, the colouring was that mineral water with some bubbles around the edge. I would even say that this wine is towards the higher end of the scale for Vinho Verde in terms of fizziness. But the taste was the kicker, it opened up and had the effect of vanilla ice cream floating on carbonated water with a drop of strawberry syrup from an Italian soda. A real hot summer day treat.

You will find more refined Vinho Verdes at your wine shop, but this one does the trick quite nicely.

Musical Match: Con Te Partiro sung by Andea Bocelli. Because Vinho Verde doesn’t always get the same respect as dryer crisper, more “refined” wines it is often overlooked. Mr. Bocelli and his millions of albums sold may suffer the same fate from Opera critics and devotees. This slow dreamy piece features some oomph, but also keeps it very light, fresh and approachable. So when the weather warms up and you are sitting in the back yard cooling your feet in a plastic tub and enjoying a quiet moment (when none of your neighbours are cutting there lawn) this wine will be perfect. Put some Bocelli on your portable CD player and keep a bottle of Gazela Vinho Verde in another ice bucket in the shade. Cheers.

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