The Gazela Vinho Verde is a traditional Portuguese White wine blend sourced from estate vineyards and private small farms in the Vinho Verde DO in Northwest Portugal. Vinho Verde translates to “green wine” not in terms of color, but green as in unseasoned or aged. The blend consists of mainly Loureiro, with smaller amounts of Pederna, Tajadura and Azal, these are all local indigenous grapes. Traditional Vinho Verde is very lightly carbonated, too light to actually be categorized as a Sparkling wine, though there are Sparkling Vinho Verde’s on the market. This is a wine that is bottled and released as soon as fermentation is completed, no aging at all, Vinho Verde is best when consumed within one year of release. There are 12 g/l of sugar in the Gazela which would classify it as an Extra Dry wine, meaning a little on the sweet side. The alcohol content is 9% and should be found for well under $10.
The color is olive oil yellow with a slight lime green tint. The nose is light and delicate, a little apple, a touch of lemon, a hint of pineapple and the fleeting scent of peach. This is a fun wine, the very light carbonation makes your tongue tingle, there is a surprising full slightly oily mouthfeel and the flavors are a mix of sweet and tart. First up is a blend of pear and lime, followed by peach, tangerine and apple cider. The flavors are reminiscent of SweeTarts, but not candied and more balanced. The mid palate adds dash of minerality. The finish is light, but does stick around for a while.
In Portugal, they drink wine with every meal, and by every meal, I mean breakfast included. When the meal calls for a White wine, Vinho Verde is likely to get the call. Light, crisp, delicious, versatile and with the low 9% alcohol content, just the wine to serve with, cold pasta dishes or a shrimp salad at lunch or early dinner. In the US, wine is not always used as accompaniment to the meal, it is more likely to be enjoyed while sitting on the back porch or balcony and the Gazela Vinho Verde excels there. The slight carbonation and the sweetness balanced by tart flavors makes for a very attractive, easy to enjoy wine.