Until very recently on my parents’ fridge was a piece of schoolwork by my younger brother from when he was very little. I think the assignment was to describe his father. All I can remember about it is the line ‘my Daddy likes drinking Vinho Verde.’ It wasn’t his best piece of work and I’m not sure why it stayed on the fridge for so long when better works such as my poem about a psychotic tin of Del Monte peaches were consigned to the bin.
Perhaps it was because my Dad and indeed my mother really did love drinking Vinho Verde. Thanks to annual holidays in the Algarve, this was the first particular kind of wine that I was aware of. I once asked my father why he only drank it in Portugal, he muttered something about it not travelling which I didn’t understand at the time. What he meant was that the green wine – green because it is young not because of its colour – needs to be drunk as soon after vintage as possible. In fact it is probably best unbottled still fizzing with carbon dioxide like traditional Frascati or Heuriger wine in Austria.
This particular Vinho Verde is a breath of fresh air if you’re sick of tarted-up attention-seeking wines. It’s low in alcohol and gently lemony rather than bursting with tropical fruits. That’s not to say that it is bland: there is an electric almost Riesling-esque crackle of acidity and a slight fizz. Its cousin, Rias Baixas, over the border in Galicia is madly fashionable, expensive and often disappointing whereas Vinho Verde is free of all pretence. It’s the perfect thing to drink in large quantities with lots of seafood.
Currently on offer at Majestic for £4.99 when you buy two. Even at £6.99 it’s good value.