With apologies to Kermit, when it comes to wine, green is easy. Portugal's Vinho Verde (literally "green wine") is oh-so-easy, and it goes down the same way. With a light bit of fizz, crisp fruit and low alcohol (usually 10 percent or less), serve it well-chilled, and it's just the thing to beat the summer heat. Typically sold without a vintage and made with grapes at the front of the alphabet (alvarinho, arinto, avesso and azal, to name a few), Vinho Verde should be drunk young, within a year of bottling, when it is at its refreshing best. Here are three that are sure to please:
2914 Arca Nova Vinho Verde, $8.99
The aromas are a light but lovely mix of floral apricot with something like a warm piece of apple pie topped with a slice of English cheddar. It's on the soft side, with light acidity backing round, ripe stone fruit and citrus. The finish is smooth but with an edgy hit of lime zest.
Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, $9.99
The aromas are intriguing if a bit funky. Along with ripe Fuji apple, it has touches of yeast and bacon fat. Bright citrus dominates the front end of the palate, giving way to slightly less tangy apple and finishing with mandarin lime and orange.
Dalila Vinho Verde, $7.99
This wine offers a surprisingly complex and enticing nose bursting with aromas of apple, sugared lime and blood orange. There's a nice richness to the palate as crisp lemon and lime are beautifully balanced by lush, ripe peach. Citrus zest and a touch of mineral come through on the tangy finish.