NV Aveleda, Portugal "Casal Garcia" Vinho Verde Rose
I started it in a wine glass. Then I moved it to a snifter. I poured that into a highball and then a 4-ounce beer glass. And finally I settled on this coffee mug because my Boston shaker's in the sink. This rose is just that disarming, to the point where I couldn't gild it with the concept of drinking wine. I'm just drinking. And today it happens to be a slightly frizzante, full, and spritely Portuguese rose. Sprite. Funny I say that, actually. Because what caught me first was how fruity this wine is--not at all the steely, raw, chalky, "green" rose I tend to drink from southern France. Yet, something seemed so familiar. I kept thinking "spritely"--maybe because it says "crisp and refreshing" on the label, maybe because I'm trying to switch up some of the language on this site. Then I looked closer... Aveleda written like the return address you'd hide under the sealed envelope flap when writing letters was cool. I'd seen their wines, guzzled a few at barbecues. In my town, at least, it happens to be the one decent summer bottle you can even find at 7-11 (and genius with hot dogs, by the way). I searched some more on Aveleda, found the most obnoxious review, "this tastes like Slice," he said. Oh, it's me--some quick note I wrote a few years ago on Aveleda's white Vinho Verde. No surprise then that today, on top of all these relatively complex flavors, all I end up tasting is Sprite. In truth, that lime soda quality's not really this winery's fault. It comes with the territory--Vinho Verde, near the border with Spain--where the blended Loureiro-, Azal-, Trajadura-, Arinto-, and Avesso-based wines are bottled early, keeping the alcohol low, the sugar a touch residual, and the bubbles trickling. Without the fermentation, it'd be a new flavor of Boylan's. (Note to self: contact Boylan's.) It's white raspberries and strawberries in July. The grenadine floating in a midmorning Monaco; you can almost hear the pomegranate seeds being tapped with the back of a knife. You don't call it wine any more than you need to say "H20" when you roll out of bed thirsty at 3am. You just go to the sink and pour a glass. It's a need that primal for me. These wines are often dismissed as non-descript. They're cheap as all get out. They have no real story. None were ever buried in a shipwreck and, if they were, they'd be brown and taste like sludge today. Thomas Jefferson didn't own these. Churchill didn't insist on a bottle of it with every meal. If you bring it to a fancy wine tasting, everyone will laugh at you. I'll laugh at you, too. These wines are just there. We don't need to talk about them, or blog about them... They're not like the folks you see on TV or follow on Twitter. Not like the ones fetishisised with posters on your ceiling, you someday hoping to jump or sing or vogue like them. It's the primer on the wall, the chassis in your car. It's like everyone you know. It's not what you covet; it's what you are.