Vinho Verde: Green Wine That’s White from Portugal Paired with Tuna, Tomato, Basil Orzo #WinePW

3 vinho verde with a family style Portuguese inspired dinner of tuna and orzo with zucchini fritters


  1. Vinho Verde is pronounced veeng-yo vaird.
  2. Vinho Verde does not mean ‘green’ wine; instead ‘verde’ refers to it being a young wine. 
  3. Vinho Verde wines are released 3-6 months after harvest.
  4. Vinho Verde has produced wine for over 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest wine regions in Portugal– and the world.
  5. Vinho Verde wines offer vibrant fruit, low alcohol and refreshing qualities that can be enjoyed alone or will pair well with salads, seafood, and Asian cuisine.
  6. Vinho Verde wine is affordable and one of the best values on the market.
  7. Vinho Verde is Portugal’s largest wine region, with 19,000 grape growers farming over 51,000 acres of vineyards.
  8. Vinho Verde produces 86% white wine with the remainder red, rosé, sparkling, and brandy; one of the most memorable tasting events of my life included a red wine from Vinho Verde!
  9. Vinho Verde is located in Portugal’s northernmost wine producing region on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula along the Atlantic.
  10. Vinho Verde’s verdant landscape and temperate climate resembles America’s Pacific Northwest.
  11. Vinho Verde wines have a Seal of Guarantee that ensures the quality and authenticity.
  12. Vinho Verde wines are made from the combination of grapes including primary grapes of Alvarinho, Avesso, Azal, Arinto, Loureiro, and Trajadura.

More about a range of Portuguese wines with Portuguese inspired pairings.

Vinho Verde is in the northwest of Portugal.

Vinho Verde Menu

  • Cheese and meat plate
  • Oysters
  • Family style platter:
    fresh grilled ahi tuna steaks and zucchini fritters on a bed of fresh tomato orzo and greens; recipe adapted by one developed by Nicole at Somm’s Table (link)

We found all three wines we sampled to be very refreshing and easy to drink. All would be great wine spritzers. All of the wines were fantastic with the menu. We felt fresh home grown tomatoes, and fresh caught tuna  were the key with the sweet tomato a perfect companion to the wine.

2017 Seaside Cellars Vinho Verde
ABV 11.5%; SRP $12
purchased at Grocery Outlet for $4

Color: Pale Lemon, slight green tinge, the blue bottle makes the wine look even more on the green side.

Nose: Diesel fuel, fennel pollen, ocean breeze, ocean grasses.

Palate: Slightly effervescent that blows off a bit after being opened, fresh fruity, lively, lemon lime, satisfying, relatively simple, easy to drink.

Pairing: Salty foods bring out lots of fruit in the wine. The wine was a bit bitter with the fish alone, but when the fish is mixed with the orzo the flavors all come together and work wonderfully with the wine. While the zucchini fritters were fantastic with all of the wines, we loved them the best with this wine.

2019 Esporao Quinta do Ameal Bico Amarelo, Vinho Verde
ABV 11.5%; SRP $12
sample for my review consideration  

According to this article, Esporão is modifying its vineyard practices to increase sustainability and address climate change concerns: “Whereas in the 1980s and 1990s, we were encouraged to go to more fruit exposure and not have fruit too shaded, we’ve gone back to having a bit of a sprawl in the vineyards,” Baverstock explains, which helps prevent sunburn. “We have also been spraying our more susceptible vines with a white clay called kaolin. It’s a bit like a sun cream. It reduces temperatures a little.” A side benefit to the clay is that it seems to repel leafhoppers.”

Color:  Very pale, platinum gold

Nose: Florals and banana, like a fruit salad, apple banana, green apple,

Palate: The first thing Sue noticed was the round mouth feel, quick finish, banana, kind of like banana bread. Very clean and pleasing. We were drinking this wine at cellar temperature and found the wine to be nicely expressive and easy to drink. We did not feel that it needed to be colder. Good acidity

Pairing: Loves the rosemary manchego, great with the pesto bruschetta, Sue made a pesto with her fresh picked basil, sunflower seeds, and grated manchego that went so well with the wine. Really went well with the haminess of the proscuitto. The wine was nice with an oyster, but I preferred them with the tart salinity of the Ameal. The tuna brings out such a fruity characteristic  in the wine. Nice with the orzo, fantastic with the zucchini fritters, loves fried food.

Try: Fish n chips!

2019 Quinta do Ameal Loureiro, Vinho Verde
ABV 11%; SRP $18
sample for my review consideration 

Color: Very pale gold, platinum

Nose: Juicy fruit gum, jackfruit, bubble gum, banana

Palate: Very tart, mouthwatering tartness, lemon lime, salinity which is part of why it is mouthwatering,

Pairing: Cured meats and salt cured olives, bruschetta with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, Wow with oysters, the oysters were really creamy, the acidity in the wine cut through the creaminess, and became quite fruity. Great with the sweetness of the tomato and the saltiness of the feta and the zest of the basil in the orzo. Fantastic with the salinity of the fish and the lemon squeezed on top. Great with the salty fried zucchini fritters.

While a little more expensive, definitely distinct — we both preferred it and didn’t know when we tasted its SRP.

Want to know more about Portuguese wine and food pairings? Stay tuned! I have series of posts scheduled for August and September.

Plus this month the Wine Pairing weekend group of wine writers and I are writing about Vinho Verde and what foods to pair with it:

Join our 8am Pacific chat on Vinho Verde by following the hashtag #WinePW. Here are the TWITTER QUESTIONS for 8-8-2020

  • 10:00 Q1 Welcome to Portugal and our Vinho Verde chat Who was already familiar with Vinho Verde wines?
  • 10:05 Q2 Vinho Verde is a DOC in the northernmost region of Portugal and lots of grapes are used in many styles of wine – white, red and rosé. What types of vinho Verde did you try – white, red or rosé – still or sparkling?
  • 10:10 Q3 The effervescence in many Vinho Verde wines comes now from in-bottle carbonation – do you like the fizz, or prefer still Vinho Verde wines?
  • 10:15 Q4 Most Vinho Verde wines are lower in alcohol than many wines – from 9-11% ABV. Where did yours fall and did anyone have a wine that tasted too light-weight or “hot”?
  • 10:20 Q5 Let’s talk value. What did you pay for your Vinho Verde wines and did you think it was fair, or did the wine under or over-deliver?
  • 10:25 Q6 Let’s talk vintage. Did you have a vintage wine or a non-vintage? Have you ever done a side-by-side of vintage vs. NV?
  • 10:30 Q7 Grapes! Did anyone have a single-varietal Vinho Verde?
  • 10:35 Q8 Let’s talk food – what did you pair your Vinho Verde wines with?
  • 10:35 Q9 Did you have any food pairings that were a miss?
  • 10:40 Q10 What do you want to try that you didn’t get a chance to, with Vinho Verde?
  • 10:45 Q11 Who has visited the region? Tell us all the juicy details! Share photos!
  • 10:50 Q12 And finally: WHO KNOWS HOW TO PRONOUNCE IT? Wine Enthusiast says it is “vinho vaird.” Many people say “vino verday” – anyone know for sure?

Stay tuned for September, when we celebrate harvest and you’re invited! Read all about it here.






9 thoughts on “Vinho Verde: Green Wine That’s White from Portugal Paired with Tuna, Tomato, Basil Orzo #WinePW

  1. I’m so excited you found my 8 & $20 tuna recipe — I think it’s the first one I ever did for Wine Spectator. I hope you enjoyed! The rest of the spread looks fantastic. In particular, I suddenly find myself with a craving for zucchini fritters! I’ll definitely be on the look out for the Ameal as it sounds delicious.


Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s