A notable Algarve Chardonnay

French winemaker Patrick Agostini, whose family estate Quinta do Francês lies in the low hills of the Odelouca valley between Silves and Monchique, set out over 20 years to create high quality Algarve wines with French savoir-faire.

Anyone who knows and loves Algarve wine will be familiar with his excellent reds under the main Quinta do Francês label, such as the blend made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah along with the Portuguese grapes Trincadeira and Aragonês, or his outstanding varietal red Syrah “Terraços”. He also makes what is probably the Algarve’s best Sauvignon Blanc, but it was not until recently that I discovered the Chardonnay, probably because I had walked past it on the supermarket shelves without realising it was a Quinta do Francês wine.

The name of the wine is Ianthis (ancient Greek for ‘violet flower’), and it is made from 100% Chardonnay, fermented and aged in new French oak barrels.

After nine months of oak-ageing, this is a white wine that needs time in the bottle, and it appears that it was held back for a year or two after bottling, hence the 2018 vintage currently on the market.

This is a wine for those who like it oaky on the nose. Oak aromas mingle with peaches, citric and floral notes. Golden yellow in the glass, the wine is full and flavoursome in the mouth with solid acidity and a long finish. €16 directly from the winery’s online shop and similarly priced at supermarkets such as Intermarché.

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