A pure Alentejo white

In the very heart of the Alentejo wine country near Vidigueira lies Herdade Grande, a family owned and managed estate that produces consistently good wine in the true Alentejo style.

They are best known for their range of full-bodied reds, but they also make a rosé and a few whites, including this varietal from the Antão Vaz grape.

Antão Vaz is the backbone of most traditional Alentejo white blends, a variety well-suited to stand up to the high summer temperatures with large not-too-tightly-packed bunches and thick skins. It is a grape best harvested early to avoid the alcohol level soaring in the hot weather and, in this case, is picked at the crack of dawn to keep the grapes cool.

The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel on the lees with bâtonnage for six months, resulting in a smooth white with a slightly creamy texture. Clear, pale yellow in colour, there are subtle tropical fruit notes on the nose and well-balanced acidity in the mouth leading to a fresh and dry finish.

Priced at €7.99 (Apolónia), this is a very good quality white for the money, just about light enough to enjoy on its own but with enough body to work well with food.

patrick.stuart@open-media.net