Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another Portuguese White

Thurs 24 July 2008

At the beginning of the month I wrote about a Fernão Pires from Portugal. With summer finally here, it's the perfect excuse to drink more white wine, and, from what I'm seeing Portugal is offering some good value (and widely available) specimens.

I picked up Quinta da Alorna's Portal Da Águia 2007 from Oddbins for £5.79. It's a blend of Arinto and Fernão Pires and comes from Ribatejo. Ribatejo (a little inland and a little south of Estremadura, where the straight Fernão Pires came from) is the fertile region around the banks of the River Tagus. In terms of red wine, the area produces 'international' varieties, such as Cab Sav and Shiraz, as well as the local Castelão and Trincadeira. White wine production is dominated by Fernão Pires.

Arinto (a new grape for me to taste) is decribed, by Johnson and Robinson, as Portugal's "most aristocratic" white grape. You'll also find this grape in Vinho Verde and Bucelas as well as in wines from Galicia (Spain), and it goes by a variety of names, including Pedernã and Pedreña. That's just to keep you on your toes!

The wine itself is a pale lemon yellow colour. It has quite a pronounced nose, with plenty of herbaceous notes, balanced with distinct floral and limey citrus aromas. There is also a touch of tropical or stone fruit - I really struggled to put my finger on it, eventually moving from stone fruit to melon and settling on pineapple. While the palate isn't quite as sophisticated as the nose, there is plenty of pineapple and tropical fruit, backed up by some medium acidity. Although not hugely complex, the wine has pretty good length.

It's a very different wine to the straight Fernão Pires and I'd love to try them side by side. I'm guessing it's the Arinto that fleshes out this wine and makes it a slightly fatter, rounder beast. Seafood and chicken would be natural food pairings for this - something like some marinated chicken on the BBQ would be perfect. You must avoid salty food with this: I didn't and the combined effect was rather bitter and not at all pleasant!

As you can probably tell, I think this is a good, not to mention enjoyable, wine for the money.* Grab a bottle of this and sit out in the sunshine while you can!

*Andrew over at Spittoon tasted the 2005 at the start of 2007 and rated it highly - so it's not just me that likes this wine!

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Blogger Andrew said...

Thought I recognised it!

3:27 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Change of label, but still a good value white!

12:10 pm  

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