We have long been fans of Casal Garcia, the gulpable white vinho verde from the Portuguese producer Sociedade Agrícola e Comercial da Quinta da Aveleda, SA. I was in the Wine Market the other day and Larry showed me a red version of the wine. I knew red vinho verde existed, but I think this was the first one I'd ever seen in captivity. “You're not going to believe this,” he said, “but this is good.” He then explained that when the wine was first presented to him, he couldn't help but notice the legend “Smooth and Aromatic” on the label, which is ordinarily, shall we say, a contrary indicator of quality. But the proof, as always, was in the tasting.
Casal Garcia Vinho Tinto NV: This is a blend of Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (tempranillo); it has aromas of fresh plum, a little berry, and a floral note. On the palate, more plum and red fruit flavors, and a very soft and round mouthfeel. Nothing here exactly jumps out at you, but it has an ineffable pleasantness, which probably has something to do with the fact that it costs $8.99. A nice red to relax with. We drank it alongside little pork sliders stuffed with gorgonzola and slathered with mustard; frankly, I'd sit this wine down next to just about anything—it is exceptionally food-friendly.
The winemaker is Manuel Sores; his consultant is the famous Denis Dubourdieu of Bordeaux and elsewhere.