Vinho Verde literaly means “Green Wine”, but translates as “young wine”, as opposed to mature wine, it may be red, white or rose but white wines dominate production.
Vinho Verde is distinguished by its high acidity. Flavour depends on the grape varieties used – floral Loureiro, steely Trajadura, mineral Arinto, creamy and mineral Avesso, and the fine, mineral, subtly fragrant Alvarinho. Most white Vinho Verde can be relied upon to be light, crisp and aromatic, often with a light spritz, sometimes with a touch of sweetness.
Producers such as Anselmo Mendes produce more modern styles using the key traditional varieties.
Geografically the region presents itself is “a wide amphitheater rising gradually from the maritime border to the inland ” (Amorim Girão), exposed to the Atlantic Ocean influence. This is further reinforced by the orientation of the main river valleys that facilitate the maritime winds’ penetration.
There are nine sub-regions to the DOC, named after rivers or towns: Monção e Melgaço, Lima, Basto, Cávado, Ave, Amarante, Baião, Sousa and Paiva.