White Wine Grapes Used By Portuguese Winemakers
As mentioned on the red wine grapes article, there are over 250 grape varieties in Portugal, producing single variety wine and exceptional blends.
Alentejo is often associated with red wine, however, it has been producing for years, amazing white wines. As a curiosity, in 2017 the best white wine in the world was from Alentejo!
Here are some white wine grapes used by our winemakers in the Alentejo region.
Peach, Lemon, passion fruit, lynches, orange zest, jasmine
Alvarinho is linked to the famous Vinho Verde which is produced in the most Northen region of Portugal. It was one of the first Portuguese grape varieties to be bottled as a single variety, but can be also used as a blend to complement southern Portuguese grapes.
Its full-bodied, subtly fragrant white wines are easy to recognise, their complex but delicate aromas reminiscent of peach, lemon, passion fruit, lychee, orange zest, jasmin, orange blossom and lemon balm. The wines are delicious young, but they can also age well, often for ten years or more.
Tasting notes: Papaya, pineapple, Tangerine peal
This is one of the most prized varieties of the Alentejo, Well suited to the warm and sunny climate on the great plains of the Alentejo, it is reliable and productive, consistent in its ripening. It produces firm, full-bodied, well-structured wines. Made as a single variety, it has lively aromas, with hints of ripe tropical fruits, tangerine peel and something mineral, along with good structure and body. If picked early, it gives wines with vibrant aroma and crisp acidity. Left to ripen longer, it can reach high levels of alcohol, making it a good candidate for barrel maturation. It blends often with Roupeiro, Arinto and Verdelho which contribute refreshing acidity.
Tasting notes: Green apples, Lemon, Lime
This is a versatile grape, grown in most of Portugal’s wine regions. It makes vibrant wines with lively, refreshing acidity, often with a mineral quality, along with gentle flavours reminiscent of apple, lime and lemon. Arinto-based wines can keep well but are also delicious young. Because it keeps its acidity even in hot climates, Arinto is often added to other lower-acid white grapes to improve blends – especially in the hot Alentejo region.
Lemon, papaya, mango
Verdelho came to fame on Portugal’s islands – Madeira and the Azores- as a base wine for fortified wines. From there it made its way to Australia, where it makes rich, aromatic dry whites. The base wines have high acidity but in the warm Alentejo climate it produces very interesting tropical notes of mango and Papaya coupled with a balanced lemony acidity.
This north-eastern grape survives for the most part scattered here and there in the old mixed white vineyards of the Douro. Traditionally, Viosinho has been an unpopular variety with growers because of its very low yields. It’s only recently that winemakers have realised what a treasure it is, as a component both in port and in unfortified Douro white blends. It makes full-bodied but fresh, fragrant, well-balanced wines, performing best in hot, sunny climates bringing its floral notes to live!
Orange, Lemon, Peach, Melon, bay leaves
This land-locked grape grows in a long north-south strip over by the border with Spain. It has various alternative regional names. Síria is the name used in the Beiras, but it is best known by its southern Alentejo name, Roupeiro – this is the most-planted white grape in the Alentejo. When youth it is exuberantly aromatic, citrus and floral, with hints of peach and melon.
White Wines and the Grapes they are made from
|Villa Pias||Antao Vaz, Arinto, Verdelho|
|Conde D’Ervideira – Winter White Wine||Antao Vaz, Viosinho|
|Conde D’Ervideira – Invisivel||Aragonez|
|Conde D’Ervideira Reserva||Antao Vaz|
|S De Sol||Antao Vaz, Roupeiro, Perrum|
|Monte Da Capela Premium||Antao Vaz, Arinto|
|Vinha D’Ervideira Selected Harvest||Antao Vaz, Arinto, Verdelho, Alvarinho|
|Monte Da Capela Grande Reserva||Antao Vaz, Arinto, Verdelho|
|Conde D’Ervideira Private Selection||Antao Vaz, Arinto|
|Encostas Do Enxoe||Antao Vaz, Arinto, Verdelho|
|Vinha D’Ervindeira Vindima Tardia||Antao Vaz|