The damnedest thing happened when the Wine Curmudgeon went vinho verde shopping this year. The wines, usually around $5 or $6, weren ?t that cheap. Most were about $8, and one cost $11 ? a price that seemed to defeat vinho verde ?s purpose.
That ?s because vinho verde, a Portuguese white wine that ?s actually kind of green, is supposed to be an inexpensive, simple wine served ice cold ? with an ice cube, even. It ?s made for hot summer days and it starts to wear out around the time the kids go back to school in September. It ?s slightly sweet with lime or green apple fruit and very low alcohol, plus some fizz ? more like club soda than sparkling wine. You buy it, drink it, and forget about it.
Why anyone thinks they can get more than $10 for vinho verde is beyond me. Are you listening, Broadbent?
Most vinho verde is made by a handful of companies, which they sell to retailers under a variety of labels. This year, the Sonalto ($6, purchased, 9%) was about as good as vinho verde gets — fresh, limey and effervescent, without too much sweetness or the warm beer taste that is sometimes a problem. You may see the same wine called Santola; both have a crab on the label.