A Perfect Wine Alternative to White Claw. There are options, people. In fact, a very nice Portuguese option.
Consumers today don’t appreciate shit.
Back when I was in college, you had to buy your lime club soda and vodka separately, mix just the right ratio together and do so in a completely inconvenient cup. Trying times. Still, I felt like a world class mixologist in my ketchup-stained board shorts, pouring refreshing joy for hot dog enthusiasts at one of many summer picnics.
In today’s world that demands canned cocktails to satisfy ultimate convenience, we’ve lost the romanticism of picnic bar tending. It’s all manufactured ratios and chained creativity now. I mean, you can’t give your friend a wink and a nod for a heavy pour when they toss you a canned G&T, am I right?
So White Claw comes crashing into the situation, saying hold my….White Claw.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of cracking open a White Claw, it’s one part hard seltzer and five parts people screaming, “I had that idea ten years ago!!”. It comes in flavors of Lime, Black Cherry, Mango. All the hits.
Say hello to Vinho Verde
I’d love to introduce you to nature’s original White Claw: Vinho Verde. It’s Portugal’s summer treat, versatile in flavor and ready for consumption via bottle, plastic cup or viking horn.
Vinho Verde isn’t a grape varietal but a region in gorgeous Portugal. Just as White Claw isn’t a beverage so much as it is a way of life. VV is also as versatile as White Claw, coming in 7 different flavors of grape varietals and pairing with most any snack you pull out of your day bag.
Though an elementary grasp of the Portuguese language will tell you Vinho Verde translates to “green wine”, its color comes in a pleasant, almost angelic, white. Some also say verde merely refers to the fact Vinho Verde is meant to be drunk young.
Surely the argument on semantics will come full circle when you’re three bottles in, but experts (i.e. NOT Uncle Frank) claim verde is actually in reference to the lush, green landscape that Vinho Verde grapes are grown in.
Saturday afternoon in a bottle
The experience of drinking Vinho Verde? Well, it’s like the missing flavor of White Claw’s lineup – a lemon tart wrapped in a blanket of bubbles. The carbonation is mostly artificial (as opposed to naturally occurring in the bottle) but, trust me, you’ll want it. The high acidity of a young, cooler climate wine being introduced to effervescence is a marriage that won’t end in alimony payments.
It’s lemony. It’s spritely. It’s low in alcohol and ripe for day drinking. Nature is screaming in its best Jersey accent, “It’s summer! Get your ass outside and take this with you!”
Good buys of Vinho Verde average $8-15 a pop. I’ve been drinking Aliança all summer – you can snag that one at Whole Foods for $9 or $10. In fact, your local wine haunt should have various takes of VV on the shelves at a price that warrants you bringing a couple of reusable wine bags. (Pro tip: join one wine club and you’ll probably have more reusable bags than you can shake a stick at.)
There’s nothing overly complex or mysterious about Aliança…and that’s the point. You’ll get that punch of citrus and well-appointed CO2 to give it youth. I especially like that it’s not overly tart or eye-rolling sweet.
Still have a hankering for a case o’ White Claw? Saddling up for the last river trip of the summer? Consider throwing a couple bottles of Vinho Verde in the cooler as well. If you don’t end up drinking it straight out of the bottle, you’re doing its legacy disservice.