When asked about wine in social situations–and you’ll find that “wine” is a subject that comes up increasingly often as the age of twenty-one recedes farther into your past–I usually answer that I don’t care for it. When pressed, I’ll even say that it gives me migraines, which isn’t exactly a lie, at least not in the case of cheaper, sweeter reds and whites. The whole truth, however, is that I don’t like most wines. I am embarrassingly picky, and while I’ll readily admit to beer snobbery, I know so little about wine that I feel silly acknowledging any snobbery about it in public.
There are plenty of wines that I’ll drink and sort-of, kind-of enjoy, but there are only three kinds that I will actually seek out and purchase for myself. Of course I like very dry champagne (which is indeed a type of wine), because who with tastebuds doesn’t? I also like very dry prosecco. Unfortunately, when asked what you’d like to drink in the home of a friend or acquaintance, you can’t just breezily request a glass of something that takes such a steep toll on the wallet–something even that you would never be able to afford pouring out to a number of guests in your own home.
And then there’s the decidedly down-market vinho verde. I say this because the wine snobs I know tend to look down on this wine, and because the vast majority of the bottles available where I live are under $10. The most expensive I’ve seen was $17; the ones that I buy fall between $6 and $8. Vinho verde is just “young wine,” meaning that it isn’t aged. It can be made, in theory, with any kind of grape, and can be white, rose, or red. Around here, I have only seen white and rose versions. Most of it comes from Portugal and is very slightly effervescent.
Why do I like this stuff? Well, the price is decidedly a factor here, especially considering that the other wines I like tend to be special-occasion expensive. But this stuff is genuinely tasty, too. If you’re someone who hates reds, a vinho verde is probably right up your alley. It’s crisp, refreshing, usually served cold, usually quite dry, and still flavourful. Some of them are fruity, but I haven’t had one that was cloying or that tasted fake (like peaches or strawberries or any other Jolly Rancher-inspired crap).
My other reason is that I now have a collection of very beautiful, very matching wine glasses, and drinking out of them makes me feel like a fancy lady. The truth comes out.