Greetings loved ones, and welcome to Grape Expectations: Lewis & Clark’s premier resource for learning how to drink like a classy and responsible adult. First and foremost, it is necessary to remind all of my loyal readers that Grape Expectations and The Pioneer Log do not condone underage or reckless drinking in any form. This is wine, not Burnett’s.
I suggest you think of this column as a beachfront vacation at a five-star resort where we spend but a few special moments together, diving headfirst into a yeasty, fermenting pool of fruit juice and forgetting the troubles of our Portland day-to-day. We as young people often see the world of wine as unapproachable and uninteresting — this may be true to some, but it does not have to be! Take it from me, someone who hardly knows the difference between Bourgogne and Bourgueil; you do not have to spend years training your palate and memorizing Old World wine regions in order to enjoy a glass of gewürztraminer (guh-VERTZ-truh-mee-ner) with the girls. If you want to get the most out of your collegiate wine-drinking experience all it takes is between $8 and $15, a valid form of ID stating that you are over 21 and an admission to yourself that you deserve better than Franzia Sunset Blush suckled from a cold, mechanical teat.
Our wine this week could not be more on the nose (“on the nose” is a hint that you should always smell your wine before drinking it, period) when it comes to end-of-summer favorites. Originating from Portugal, a nice chilled glass of Vinho Verde is my drink of choice to kick off the fall semester! The name “Vinho Verde” seems like it means green wine (which is sometimes true), but it really should be translated as “young” wine since it is available to buy relatively soon after bottling. The bottle I had on hand this week is the 2018 Quinta da Raza Vinho Verde, an $11 find from Division Wines in Southeast Portland. This wine is light and crisp with a pleasant balance of acidity and subtle sweetness, citrusy and tropical on the palate. Her slight fizz, the result of it being pumped with carbon, makes senhora Verde a perfect celebratory send-off to “hot girl summer.”
If you do not live near Southeast Division Street and do not feel like going too far out of your way to pick up this Quinta da Raza vintage, fret not! Vinho Verde is easy to find at Fred Meyer (or most wine shops), and it is a reliably affordable and delicious option for those who want to ring in the autumn season without blowing all their summer savings. My advice is to find a fairly priced bottle, a bag of Limón Lays and invite the ladies over for a sip. As the Portuguese say, saúde!