While the snow still flies in other parts of the U.S., we lucky Orange County residents already are enjoying many signs of spring. Trees are budding, daffodils are blooming, and we’re staying outside to enjoy the longer stretches of daylight. These spring essences spark a long love of mine: day drinking. While many people hold their wine appetites for the after-work glass or a nice pairing with dinner, I’m all for cracking a bottle early when the mood and spring temperatures strike.
One of the best day-drinking options? The wines of Vinho Verde, which is a wine-growing region in northwestern Portugal known for whites, reds, and roses. Of the three, the white wines create the perfect, quaffable day-drinking experience. Like most wine regions, this one offers a few tiers of Vinho Verde wines ranging from serious to inexpensive blends. The affordable white wine blends—simply labeled Vinho Verde—are my staple. A Vinho Verde white typically is light, crisp, and has a slight effervescence. Best yet, the wine has a lower alcohol level (about 9 percent, compared to 11 to 15 percent for most other wines of the world), which allows you to extend the day tossing them back in the sun.
I stopped in Trader Joe’s on a recent warm Sunday for snacks to enjoy in the backyard. Short on time and ready to imbibe, I grabbed a $4.99 Vinho Verde from the shelf. I was giddy about its higher acidity and zippiness. Best served well chilled, Vinho Verde is a great pairing for Sunday brunches, fresh seafood, salads with citrusy ingredients, or as a solo star enjoyed from a lawn chair.