An Algarve white for the Christmas table

Last week I singled out a couple of Algarve reds that I feel would pair well with roast turkey at Christmas, so now for a white.

Pairing a richly-flavoured roast dinner with a white wine is not so easy; we need something with body, real depth of flavour and good acidity. The Algarve has started to gain some recognition for the quality of red wines being produced but the same cannot be said for whites. Testament to this is the tiny amount of space taken up at leading supermarkets with white wines from the Algarve and the even more limited choice on restaurant wine lists when compared to the region’s reds.

But there are some excellent white wines being made here, certainly better than most of what can be found in the Alentejo. The Algarve, after all, benefits from ocean breezes and cooler temperatures in the summer than the searing plains of the Alentejo, making it a far more suitable terroir for whites. 

For my turkey dinner, I am singling out this Viognier from Paxá Wines near Silves, which I picked up from my local Intermarché supermarket, costing €10.99 and representing outstanding value for money.

This wine is oaked, but it is by no means oaky. In fact, on the nose the oak is hardly perceptible, with notes of candied lemon and passion fruit coming to the front.

In the mouth, it has a creamy texture with good acidity and a long clean finish. This wine really surprised me. In fact, I would go as far to say that I have paid a great deal more for premium whites from producers further north that often fall well short of this one.

The gold medal sported on the label, from this year’s Concours Mondial in Brussels, is well deserved.

By Patrick Stuart
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