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Portugal whites: Grape guide

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.

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