From time to time, FOUR likes to put the spotlight on produce which they think is worth sharing with their food and wine loving readers.

This time we’ve discovered Vinho Verde – a Portuguese wine that originates from the historic Minho province in the far north of the country.

The words ‘Vinho Verde’ actually translate from Portuguese into English as ‘green wine’ – but there certainly isn’t anything unripe about this beautifully light beverage – perfect for summer drinking.

Over recent years there has been a huge increase in sales and exports of Vinho Verde to the UK. So why all the fuss? FOUR puts the spotlight on Vinho Verde and shares a few interesting facts and tips for this summer’s most drinkable wine.

1. Vinho Verde wines are made from indigenous grape varieties and grow in the green valleys between the Atlantic coast and the interior mountains.

2. The fresh breezes coming from the sea, pulling on the steep mountain slopes where the vines are grown bring character to the grapes. The soil on which the grapes grow are characterised by granite. This unique terroir gives Vinho Verde wines freshness, minerality and a tangy finish.

3. The earliest known references to Vinho Verde wine came from the philosopher Romans Seneca, the naturalist Pliny and from Dominican legislation, dating from 96-51 BC.

4. Vinhos Verde wines were the first Portuguese wines to be sent to European markets (England, Flanders and Germany), particularly those from the Monção and Melgaço and Ribeira de Lima regions.

5. Vinho Verde is naturally light and refreshing, mildly alcoholic (rarely more than 12% alcohol) and low in calories, making it an ideal choice if you are looking to a healthier lifestyle.

6. Because of its natural characteristics, Vinho Verde is a particularly gastronomic wine. Its low levels of acidity and lightness make it attractive for a range of occasions, with or without food.

7. White Vinhos Verde wines are ideal for accompanying salads, seafood, fish, poultry and oriental cuisine. A selection of dishes they form a perfect marriage with include: Clam Cataplana, Mussels au Gratin, Fresh Mushroom Salad, Smoked Salmon, Grilled Golden Bream, Oven-Baked Sea Bass, Baked Octopus, Duck Breasts and Sushi, amongst other Asian cuisines.

8. Try it at the start of your meal. Due to its light and refreshing characteristics, there’s a recent trend for serving Vinho Verde wines as an aperitif.

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