Winemaker Júlio Bastos and his Dona Maria wines are perhaps best known for their rosé. It was not so long ago, before supermarket shelves were awash with 50 or more shades of pink, that Dona Maria rosé stood out as one of the first salmon pink rosés in Portugal that was produced in pale pink Provence style. It is still one of the best Portuguese rosés out there in the mid-price range.
I have also long been a fan of his red under the Amantis label, a blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon that is something of a go-to steak wine for me. But I had never really associated this producer with whites, even though the standard Dona Maria white is a very decent wine.
Amantis Viognier is a good example of how oak can work with this somewhat difficult grape variety. In this case, the wine is barrel-fermented on the lees but not barrel-aged. The wine is well balanced with only a touch of oak noticeable giving way to citric and white fruit notes on the nose. Very smooth and rounded in the mouth with good structure and firm acidity ending in a nice fresh finish. This is very much a wine to be enjoyed with food, ideal with roast fish or grilled white meats. €14.95 in Apolónia.
By Patrick Stuart