Northern Portugal is one of the wine world's most fascinating regions in that it is home to two extreme variants of winemaking that are polar opposites. The region's dark, rich, and sweet port wines are by far the most famous, as they are the strongest wines on earth, and the finest are among the most expensive of collectors' wines. Made in a laborious, time-consuming process with mountain-grown grapes from the region's high-elevation Douro Valley, ports capture in a glass the warming radiance of the sun. But northern Portugal's other uncommon winemaking style, a specialty of the low-elevation Minho region called vinho verde, or "green wine," is obscure and underappreciated. Made from underripe grapes, these wines can be white, red, or pink and have remarkably low alcohol content and a tickle of effervescence, which pair nicely with their faint kiss of sweetness and bracing citrusy tang. Because these wines are among the world's lightest in weight and easiest to make, though, vinho verde prices are so absurdly low the style is rarely taken seriously. But refreshment is just as desirable a wine trait as richness, and these wines are as brisk as a bottled ocean breeze. They make spectacular partners with the types of food that most often clash with stronger, drier wines, namely foods that feature high levels of sugar, acidity, or spicy heat. So if you're looking for wines that can handle turkey with cranberry sauce or honey-glazed ham for Thanksgiving, consider snapping up some of this deliciously uncomplicated vinho verde rosé, whose fun, flirty flavors of lemon and raspberry soda will be a hit with every generation sharing the holiday table.
Gazela Vinho Verde Rosé. $5.99 (regularly $8.99; sale price through Dec. 2). PLCB Item #45882