October 22, 2008

Aveleda 2007 Vinho Verde Quinta da Aveleda, about $9

Last Tuesday, Wine & Spirits Magazine held a gala tasting in San Francisco featuring wines from the magazine's Top 100 Wineries of the Year. We poured wines from all over the world, from Krug Champagne to Calera pinot noirs, Australian shirazes to Portuguese Ports. Fancy, pricey stuff, mostly. Yet my friend Steve's favorite wines at the end of the night? Aveleda's Vinho Verdes, which run $9 to $14. Grown in the northwestern corner of Portugal, where Atlantic breezes keep the vines cool and the landscape lush, wines from Vinho Verde are crisp, bright and light, with a faint, mouthwatering sea salt tang. Traditional Vinho Verdes like Aveleda's Quinta da Aveleda are made from a mix of local grapes and are so light they are almost spritzy when first opened, with a refreshing limey character; those made exclusively from alvarinho, the Portuguese version of Spain's albariƱo and the region's most respected grape, combine richer ripe apple flavors with zingy acidity. Both are palate-whetting, easily holding their own in any circumstance, from backyard BBQ to white-tablecloth dinner.

Imported by FJN Fine Wines LLC, Cumberland, RI

This review first appeared in the Denver Post.

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