João Quintela officially debuted in the wine business 10 years ago. With the opening of Néctar das Avenidas, no more. The word “official” is more than more detail. João was not exactly curious when he changed his life as a salesperson for kindergarten supplies for the adventure of having a wine cellar. I had already gone through the gathering of oenophiles Os Cinco à Oito, habitues the Campo de Ourique wine cellar, and the now-defunct Things of Arco do Vinho, in Belém, where he was part of the tasting panel. Over and over, he learned that a wine cellar can be more than just a store. And he imprinted that mood on his wine cellar when he decided to make his profession wine.
At his side, he has a daughter, Sara Quintela, who studied hotel management, always with a certain fondness for wines, a taste that was born of her following her father’s tastings. They are the two who make the selection of what goes on the shelves, guided not necessarily by personal tastes – even because they often diverge – but by a criterion of quality, fair value and some effort to escape the conventional.
Néctar das Avenidas is not a large store, but it presents a representative selection from practically all regions of the country, Vinhos Verdes included. In this chapter, João has some predilection for alvarinhos, especially the releases in format magnum, who likes to buy and store. In fact, this is another one of his passions for wine: “By definition, I’m not a fan of new wines”, he explains. “Alvarinho, then, with age, gains incredible aromas.” What is the recommended waiting time? “Five to eight years”, doesn’t even hesitate.
However, it is important to note that this is not a wine cellar dedicated to rarities. “I don’t allow them to exist”, adds João Quintela. If you know that a wine has run out at the producer, buy the last bottles from the store for yourself. “They’re too good, they’re pearls,” he says, with the determination of someone who talks about family jewelry, he nods to a pile of boxes he keeps behind the counter. “We don’t sell them, they’re for us.”
The corner dedicated to Greens varies according to the time of year, with demand increasing in summer. “Thing I disagree with”, quick. “I see the appeal of warm weather, but they are year-round wines.” Between oscillations and ruptures of inventory, has represented eight to ten producers, and two to three dozen references – a batch that also includes the Poejo d’Algures brand.
In this spirit of being more than just a store, the Quintela wine cellar organizes visits to producers, commented tastings and themed dinners, in partnership with a handful of local restaurants that put wine on the right altar. In June, one of these dinners brought together 10 producers from the Vinhos Verdes region, at Casa do Bacalhau – and in 2022, they predict, the last new edition. Much more than just a store, therefore.
This article was published in No. 3 of the magazine Singular.