The Amazing White Wines of Portugal

A world of variety just waiting to be discovered!



 

Crazy Indigenous Blends

 
This is where things get very interesting with some really terrific wines being produced from these crazy blends. Styles run the gamut from quite modern to truly old school but the bottom line is that there's a lot to like here.
 
 
50/50 Maria Gomes and Bical,
 
Fermented in 2500 liter wood barrel, on indigenous yeasts then aged in 1000 liter barrels where it is allowed to oxidize a bit. 
 
Waxy on the nose with  gorgeous sage, citrus oil and faint vegetal and chalk aromas that are framed with hints of leather and pork fat. Bright on entry and with great fruit early on the medium bodied palate, this shows excellent depth of fruit, superb focus and good tension in the mouth. there’s a wave of late arriving complexity, savory and aromatic in the mouth that leads to a long, complex finish. This has excellent potential to improve in the cellar. A bit of a revelation. 92pts
 
 
Aged in 500 liters, 40% new rest second passage
 
Rabigato, Gouveio, Arinto and Viosinho.
 
A little leesy on the nose with notes of steel, vanilla and flowers adding detail to the citrus/mandarin orange aromas.  Bright acidity  and  fine minerality pop on entry then the midpalate reveals lovely use of oak supporting fine clean orange blossom and white apple fruit that gains a little Chablis like  rock and crushed flower accent in the glass. Complex and complete, this is lovely. 91pts
 
 
 
So this is made for a fancy , if seductively dated hotel in Portugal and for the most part is only availlbe at the hotel; talk about hard to find. However, it's a fabulous wine and worth mentioning if only to alert those who might one day stay at the Hotel Bucaco as the existance of such a thing. I also enjoyed a 2001 while at dinner at the hotel. These wines are a real treasure of Portugal. 
 
Fermented in wood and one year aging,  300 liters, 100% new medium toast, Five to six thousand bottles a year
 
One grape from Dao two from Barriada 
 
Encruzado, Maria Gomes, Bical
 
An oxidative sweetness greets the nose recalling cooked white meats which leads to layers of banana, slate, and gentle dried citrus fruits on the nose. With huge acids on entry this shows lovely balance in a clean but obvious oxidative style. The oxidation adds a touch of sweetness and high toned complexity in the mouth with a little VA adding lift to the lime and tart apple flavors. The nice astringent finish shows good length with more banana and creamy almost melony fruit that shows nice depth with the oak very well integrated. There’s some Lopez de Heredia character here. 90pts
 
 
Viosinho, Rabigato, Gouveio
 
2006 was first vintage, granitic soils, 600 meters above sea level, fermented for almost 45 days at 12 to 14 degrees, 2.4 grams per liter, using a cultivated yeast strain from the Douro,
 
Orange blossoms and citrusy aromas greet the nose followed by a bit of melon with a dusty base note and fruit that is rather Quincy Sauvignon Blanc like, except floral tinged rather than herbal. At first this seems  a little sweet then the wine’s high acidity kicks in lending nice dusty cut to the lime/citrus fruit that shows good length with lots of grapefruit on the finish. There’s a bit pith and slightly pithiness bitterness on the finish as well. A pretty zesty wine that should appeal to Sauvignon Blanc drinkers. 88pts
 
 
A blend of Malvasia Fina , Cerceal ,Bical and Encruzado , half fermented in stainless steel, half in French oak
 
Fairly yeasty on the nose with a gentle leesy base note under clean and very fresh citrus fruits. On the palate one finds plenty of creamy citrus flavors with a light melon accent note and a hint of minerality. Full of tangy lime on the finish,this shows lovely clarity and freshness in a light, refreshing style. 86pts
 
 
Cerceal, Encruzado
 
Quartzy and a touch leathery on the nose with smoky dried citrus fruit and some pineapple top notes. This is smooth and juicy in the mouth  with sweet pineapple and green apple fruit, and even a bit of mango here with a light sweetness on the back end. The mango pops on the finish, along with some residual sweetness. A very friendly and fairly fruity wine. 85pts
 
 
 
Fernão Pires and  Sauvignon Blanc 
 
Floral, apple and woodsy on the nose with an orange oil to note. Medium bodied in the mouth, this shows off plenty of mandarin orange flavor with lime accents and turns lighter on the mid-palate as the acid begins to assert itself through the buffering material here leaving this with a lightly creamy texture with nice tart flavors that show a bit of pineapple and a bit of lime pith on moderately long finish. 85pts
 
 


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Top Portuguese Whites tasted 6/2013

1.
Bageiras Quinta Das Bairrada Garrafeira Branco (2011)
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2.
Filipa Pato Nossa Calcario (2012)
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3.
Quinta Do Vallado Branco Reserva (2012)
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4.
Bucaco Branco Reservado (2008)
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5.
Quinta Do Crasto (2012)
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6.
Quinta Do Casal Branco White (2012)
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Comments

  • Snooth User: Dias
    1299839 24

    As a Portuguese wine drinker myself, I can only say "great article".
    However, the Alvarinho chapter has a lot missing (Soalheiro, Deu la Deu, Brejoeira, etc etc etc) and I insist on the "Arinto" grape.... Bucellas, Quinta da Murta. Other exciting white grapes: "Antão Vaz" (Alentejo, Vidigueira region; try Herdade Grande as a great example) and "Verdelho" (Setubal, and- even- Açores!).
    Thanks!

    Dias

    Jul 17, 2013 at 6:08 PM


  • A really nice Verdelho is produced by a local California (Lodi) winemaker: Bokisch. . .

    Jul 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM


  • Snooth User: Juancar
    1167110 64

    Yes the young and refreshing portuguese wines are magnificient,and I agree with Mr.Diaz;the Soalheiro is a excelent superb wine to pairing with all kind of seafood and fish.Thanks.

    Jul 20, 2013 at 9:32 PM


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