“Uniqueness in a Bottle“. That about sums it up. Portugal produces wines from grapes that are indigenous to their country. I believe there are 250 grape varieties grown in Portugal. I had been told before that during the ice age, not all of Portugal was covered in ice, and that is where the diverse range of grapes they now have come from. Portugal produces characterful, food friendly, budget friendly wines of great quality. Today I am going to cover a few of the Portuguese white wines that I tried recently at a Trade event. Some of the wines are currently on the market here, while others you may find across the border. Either way I will tell you first a little bit about the white grape varieties that I tried, so that if you cannot find one of my specific wines, you can try to find another wine made from the same grape variety for your enjoyment.
A Few Portuguese White Grape Varieties
Alvarinho – a white grape that produces a rich wine with peaches and citrus flavours, and sometimes tropical fruits and flowers.
- Arinto – a white grape that produces elegant, lemon and apple flavoured wines.
- Encruzado – a white grape that produces a full bodied wine with floral and citrus aromas.
- Fernao Pires – a white grape that produces a light, fruity, fragrant wine with some Muscat flavour (orange and floral).
My Portuguese White Wine Picks
Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Branco 2013 – (has a BC importer) A wine made from Viosinho, Arinto, Codega and Gouveio grapes. Light stone fruit and white flowers on the nose. Dry and round with medium acidity. Cinnamon and tropical fruit up front followed by citrus.
- QUIZ Piano White 2013 – A blend of Viosinho, Gouveio, and Moscatel Galego Branco. The Moscatel grape comes through on the nose with aromas of oranges. Off dry with light body and light orange flavour. A fun sipper.
- Herdade dos Grous Branco Reserva 2013 – (has a Canadian importer) This is their reserve level wine which is a step up in qualty from their Grous Branco (although the Grous Branco was not too bad either). THis wine is a blend of Antao Vaz, Alvarinho, and Viognier. The wine spent 6 months in French oak. If you did not know, you would mistake this wine for a lightly oaked Chardonnay. It had a light toasty oak and tropical fruit nose. Medium body with a light acidic prickle on the tongue. Apples and tropical fruit flavour, with a light oak treatment. A very good wine.
Quinta do Mondego Munda 2013 – A wine made from the single variety, Encruzado grape. It has a light toast and stone fruit aromas. Light body, dry with some roundness to it. Hints of sweet spice, citrus and oak. An elegant wine.
- Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita Branco 2014 – (has a BC importer) A quality wine maker that has several wines in the BC marketplace. Try any of their wines. This one is a blend of Verdelho, Viosinho, Viognier, and Moscatel grapes. It has alight stone fruit nose. Dry with medium body and acidity. Light stone fruit flavour. A tasty wine.
- Joao Portugal Ramos Alvarinho 2014 – Made from 100% Alvarinho grapes, this wine has a light stone fruit nose. Round and soft mouth feel, with nice sweet spice and stone fruit, followed with citrus mid palate to finish.
- Aveleda Vinho Verde 2014 – (Available in BCLDB stores) A blend of Arinto, Trajadura, Loureiro, and Azal grapes. Very light stone fruit aromas. Off dry, medium body with acidic bite. Very fruit, stone fruits in the glass followed with some herbaceousness.
- Aveleda Reserva da Familia Alvarinho 2013 – (Available in BCLDB stores) The Reserva version of the previous wine, this is 100% Alvarinho. Nice stone fruit aromas in the glass. Medium body, soft and dry, with stone fruit and green citrus flavours.
Suggested Foods for these White Wines
With all these wines, a simple salad would be great with some grilled seafood, drizzled with lemon. For those wines that I identified to be similar to an oaked chardonnay, bump up the food flavour intensity with some grilled or roasted chicken or pork (Greek style) along with roasted veggies and potatoes. Enjoy the summer!