Soalheiro Oppaco

What’s green and red with a little bit of white in it?

No, this is not one those old school jokes but rather a serious wine from one of the Minho region’s top producers.

This is technically a green red wine “Vinho Verde Tinto”, made with 85% Vinhão grapes, the traditional variety used for the inky thick and much-loved authentic red vinho verde wines of the Minho. But any similarity with those difficult red wines of the Minho ends there.

What we have here in Soalheiro Oppaco is an elegant and sophisticated medium to light-bodied red wine with just 12.5% alcohol.

Soalheiro has produced something quite unique here, by adding 15% white Alvarinho grapes to the mix and in another departure from traditional verde tinto production, 30% of the wine is aged in new French oak and, rather than being drunk young, it is allowed to bottle-age for two years before being released onto the market.

Oppaco should be drunk slightly chilled, ideally at around 10ºC to 12ºC, but it can also be enjoyed at lower temperatures, especially on a hot summer day.

On the nose, there are fresh and young berry fruit notes whilst in the mouth there is freshness and good acidity and almost no sign of tannins with a long fruity finish.

Priced at between €17 and €18 in supermarkets, this is not an everyday wine, but something entirely different – in essence a red wine for white wine lovers.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]