When you think of Vinho Verde, cheap and slightly spritzy probably comes to mind first. Many wine retailers carry a $10-$15 bottle of the slightly carbonated, relatively low alcohol versions which are great, affordable options for picnics and parties, however the Vinho Verde appellation has a lot more to offer than these simple whites. One of the oldest continual wine regions in the world that dates back to the Roman Empire, Vinho Verde became a demarcated zone in 1908 making it a Denominação de Origem Protegida, or DOP wine. While basic Vinho Verde must be made in a certain style (and maintain an alcohol percentage between 8 and 11.5), there are nine subregions that allow for more flexible winemaking including Balão in the Southeast corner of the appellation where this month’s Quinta de Covela ‘Edição Nacional’ hails from. Wines like this single varietal (100% Avesso) which retails at $19, demonstrate how serious, complex and unique wines from this region can be in the hands of talented winemakers. And without the fizz, the true nature of the unique Portuguese grape varietals really shine. In addition to single varietal, non-spritzy whites, Vinho Verde produces excellent blends of the many indigenous varietals plus delicious rosés, reds and fully sparkling wines. Although the region sees lots of rain and humidity, the vines are trained in the beautiful pergola style and using other unique trellising systems in order to protect them from moisture and mold. In fact, many locals think that the name Vinho Verde comes from the lush, verdant land and not from the color of the wine or its tendency to be consumed young. We hope you take notice of this incredible region from now on, and let this Covela Avesso be your starting point!