As Portugal produces more exciting and fresh white wines, Sarah Ahmed explains the key white grape varieties.
Alvarinho Lead variety in Moncão e Melgaço, Vinho Verde: aromas of honeysuckle and fruit, ranging from ripe citrus, pear, peach and apricot. Fresh palate.
Loureiro Lead variety in Lima, Vinho Verde: floral, citrus-driven (grapefruit, lime), mineral palate.
Encruzado Lead variety in Dão: impressive acid structure underpins ageworthiness; both lemony, unoaked wines showing pear and quince, and riper, oaked, lees-stirred examples. Resinous edge on the palate.
Arinto Lead variety in Bucelas: racy acidity deftly balances ripe tropical fruit.
Síria Lead variety in Beira Interior: best from old vines/ elevated vineyards (700m above sea level) – lip-smacking, citrus-fuelled with strong minerality, especially those with a dash of Fonte Cal.
Bical & Maria Gomes Mainstays of Bairrada blends: the former peachy, the latter showing white orchard fruits with floral/laurel notes.
Rabigato, Viosinho, Gouveio & Códega do Larinho Mainstays of Douro blends: vegetal, lemony, leafy, mineral notes abound; good mouthfeel.
Antão Vaz & Roupeiro Classic Alentejo blending partners: weighty, tropical citrus flavours marry well with oak; Arinto brings persistence and balance.
Sarah Ahmed is the Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Chair for Portugal.