Portugal may best be known as a producer of Port and Madeira, but it's a nation with a winemaking culture as diverse as it is old. Scores and scores of grape varieties, some grown few places else, occur throughout the nation, and Portugal's valleys, mountains, and plains are divided into protected regions of wine origin. The Douro region might be the most reputable. Less known and respected is the northwest Minho province, home to Vinho Verde.
We know you're not stupid, but allow us: This means “green wine,” though it has nothing to do with color. Vinho Verdes can be red or white, and the “green” refers to the age at which these wines are meant to be drunk: that is, young. They wouldn't likely age well anyway, since many bear alcohol levels not more than 9 percent, though some go to 11. The wines are generally blends of several grapes, and they're pleasantly spritzy, though not enough to technically qualify them as “sparkling.”
In the region of Vinho Verde's birth, farmers have traditionally trained their vines in a fetchingly charismatic way ― up trees, fences, telephone poles, and basically any standing structure that will lift the fruit and foliage off the ground to make space for vegetables and herbs. This remains the way in parts of Portugal, though standard trellising has begun to bring order to these typically photogenic vineyards.