Vinho Verde


Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine from the Minho region in the far north of the country. The name literally means "Green Wine", referring to its youthful freshness rather than its color.

About 11% of production is exported, almost all white wine. The main export markets are France, the USA and Germany, followed by Angola, Canada and the UK. [cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Export Statistics | work = | publisher = Comissao de Viticultura da regiao dos vinhos verdes | date = 2006 | url = http://www.vinhoverde.pt/EN/estatistica/exportacao.htm | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2007-04-28 ]

The region is characterized by many small growers, more than 60,000 as of 2005. Many of these growers train their vines high off the ground, up trees, fences, even telephone poles to allow them to cultivate vegetable crops below the vines that the families may use as a food source. T. Stevenson "The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia" pg 333 Dorling Kindersley 2005 ISBN 0756613248 ]

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The Vinhos Verdes wines are light, fresh, and intended for drinking within a year. At less than 1 bar of CO2 pressure they do not quite qualify as semi-sparkling wines but do have a definite pétillance. The white Vinho Verde is very fresh, due its natural acidity, with fruity and floral aromas, depending of the grape variety. The white wines are lemon- or straw-coloured, around 9-11% alcohol, and are made from local grape varieties Loureiro, Arinto, Trajadura, Avesso and Azal. Vinho Alvarinho is made from Alvarinho grapes, from a small designated sub-region of Monção. It has more alcohol (11.5 to 14%) and ripe tropical aromas. The reds are deep red and tannic, and are mostly made from Vinhão, Borraçal and Amaral. The rosés are very fresh and fruity.usually made from Espadeiro and Padeiro.

History

Both romans Seneca and Pliny make reference to vines in the area between the rivers Douro and Minho in Roman times.cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Chronology | work = | publisher = Comissao de Viticultura da regiao dos vinhos verdes | date = 2006 | url = http://www.vinhoverde.pt/en/historia/cronologia.htm | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2007-04-28 ] There is a record of a winery being donated to the Pendurada convent in Marco de Canaveses in 870, and vineyards seem to have expanded over the following centuries, planted by religious orders and encouraged by tax breaks. Wines were mostly for domestic consumption, although Vinho Verde may have been exported in the 12th century, to England, Germany and Flanders. Exports to England are first definitely recorded in 1788 by John Croft.

The arrival of maize in the 16th century left a distinctive stamp on viticulture in the region. To maximise production of maize, new regulations banished vines to the field margins, where they would be draped over trees and hedges, forcing the vignerons to pick them from tall ladders. Even today, vines are trained on tall trellises, although that is more to do with reducing rot caused by the region's high rainfall (1500 mm on average). Another problem is that the rainfall encourages vegetative growth which shades the grapes.

The "Vinho Verde Region" was demarcated by the law of September 18, 1908 and a decree of October 1 of the same year. cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = ? | work = | publisher = Comissao de Viticultura da regiao dos vinhos verdes | date = 2006 | url = http://www.vinhoverde.pt/en/historia/default.htm | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2007-04-28 ] The regulations controlling production were largely set in 1929, with recognition as a Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) in 1984.

There are currently nearly 35,000 hectares of Vinho verde vineyards, 15% of the total in Portugal. [cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Vinho Verde | work = | publisher = Comissao de Viticultura da regiao dos vinhos verdes | date = 2006 | url = http://www.vinhoverde.pt/EN/vinhoverde/default.htm | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2007-04-28 ] There are 30,599 producers, down from 72,590 in 1981.cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Production Statistics | work = | publisher = Comissao de Viticultura da regiao dos vinhos verdes | date = 2006 | url = http://www.vinhoverde.pt/EN/estatistica/producao.htm | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2007-04-28 ]

Appellation

The Denominação de Origem is overseen by the "Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes" ("Wine Commission of the Vinho Verde Region").

The region is divided into six areas :

*Amarante
*Ave
*Baião
*Basto
*Cávado
*Lima
*Monção
*Paiva
*Sousa

Grapes

The grapes permitted by the DOC are as follows :
*Recommended white grapes : Alvarinho, Arinto, Avesso, Azal, Batoca, Loureiro, and Trajadura
*Permitted white grapes: Branco-Escola, Cainho de Moreira, Cascal, Douradinha, Esganinho, Esganoso de Castelo de Paiva, Esganoso de Lima, Fernão Pires, Lameiro, Rabigato, S. Mamede and Semilão
*Recommended red grapes: Amaral, Azal Tinto, Borraçal, Brancelho,Espadeiro, Padeiro, Pedral, Rabo de Ovelha and Vinhão
*Permitted red grapes : Doçal, Doçal de Refóios, Espadeiro Mole, Labrusco, Mourisco, Pical Pôlho, Sousão and Verdelho Tinto. [cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Grape Varieties for the Vinho Verde | work = | publisher = Comissao de Viticultura da regiao dos vinhos verdes | date = 2006 | url = http://www.vinhoverde.pt/EN/tecnologia/castas/default.htm | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2007-04-28 ]

The two most successful white wine varieties are Alvarinho and Loureiro. Alvarinho tends to produce low yields and can reach alcohol levels of 12.5%. The grape is widely planted in the northern Minho between the Lima Valley and Spanish border. Loureiro produces higher yields but very aromatic wines. The most successful red wine grape has been Vinhao followed by Azal Tinto and Espadeiro. These grapes can produce wines with deep purple coloring and peppery notes.

ee also

*List of Portuguese wine regions
*Rios do Minho VR

External links

* [http://www.vinhoverde.pt/ vinhoverde.pt] Official website of the Comissao de Viticultura da regiao dos vinhos verdes

References


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