Quinta de Aveleda is one of the most beautiful wine facilities in Portugal, if not in all Europe---a sprawling farm filled with ornate buildings, elaborate gardens, and 225 acres of vineyards. It is owned and managed by the Geddes family, who have lived on the property at least since the 15th century. Save for those vineyards, which are densely planted and carefully tended, the estate would strike a casual visitor as something out of a fairy tale.
Aveleda is also the leading producer of Vinho Verde in Portugal. Vinho Verde is the country’s benchmark white wine---light, bright and electric, with bracing acidity and vivid citrus flavors. It is a natural accompaniment to fish and shellfish, and the perfect wine for a hot day. If you’ve ever had a bottle of Vinho Verde, it was likely made by Aveleda.
The entry-level wine, and the workhorse of the product line, is Casal Garcia ($8). The nose is flinty, with scents of citrus and minerals; on the palate, the wine is lean, crisp and bone-dry, with attractive lime flavors underlined by a firm mineral base. More intriguing, if you can find it, is the Casal Garcia Rosé. This wine has a bright cherry color, aromas of strawberry on the nose, graceful flavors of red fruits in the mouth, and hints of tannin on the finish.
Quinta de Aveleda Vinho Verde ($10), the estate wine, is an 80/20 blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho. The nose yields aromas of melon and tropical fruits, but in the mouth it is tight and structured, with flavors of citrus and white pepper that echo on the long finish. Even better, and worth seeking out, is their 100% Alvarinho ($13). The nose is earthy and fragrant, filled with scents of lemon zest and fresh squeezed lime. The wine is fresh and concentrated in the mouth, displaying charming flavors of ripe citrus and melon. This has the texture and amplitude to graduation from fish and shellfish to a variety of dishes made with poultry, pork and veal.