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ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I want to surprise my husband with a bottle of Vinho Verde. But the last time we tried one it was bubbly and tasted terrible. What should I expect?

—Vannesa H., Napa, Calif.

Dear Vannesa,

Vinho Verde, or “green wine,” is a Portuguese white wine that’s meant to be consumed while still young, hence the name. It can be made from any combination of 25 different white wine grapes, the most popular being Alvarinho, Loureiro and Trajadura. Most Vinho Verdes are crisp and citrusy, and most are a bit effervescent, as you described, because winemakers often add a dose of carbon dioxide right before bottling. Vinho Verdes are usually inexpensive and typically go great with seafood.

I recommend searching our online database for recommended producers and bottlings of Vinho Verde (note the “h” in the spelling). But any time you grab a bottle of Vinho Verde, you run the risk of grabbing an effervescent one. If you like the flavor of Vinho Verde but not the bubbles, check out Albariño. Albariño is the Spanish name for the Portugese grape Alvarinho, which as I mentioned above is one of the main grapes used to make Vinho Verde. Albariños are also light-bodied and typically fragrant wines with pretty peach and citrus flavors. And no bubbles.

—Dr. Vinny

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