Bacalhôa Greco di Tufo

An Italian experiment in Portugal

Bacalhôa is one of the biggest players in Portuguese wine, with 40 vineyards in seven of the country’s main wine regions and the capacity to produce more than 20 million litres of wine per year.

This veritable Portuguese behemoth takes its name, however, from the small Quinta da Bacalhôa vineyard and palace in the town of Azeitão, near Setúbal, best known for producing what is arguably Portugal’s best Cabernet Sauvignon under the Quinta da Bacalhôa label. They also make the highly regarded and intensely fruity, dry white Quinta da Bacalhôa from a blend of Alvarinho, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. These are the premium wines made under the Quinta da Bacalhôa label, costing close to €20.

At around half the price, however, they make a range of varietals labelled simply Bacalhôa, amongst them this new white made from the Italian Greco di Tufo grape.

So the story goes, Bacalhôa wines owner Joe Berardo fell in love with wines made from this variety on a trip to Italy some 10 years ago and decided to plant some vines in Azeitão. Initially, it was used to blend with Alvarinho to make a premium white under his Berardo Family Collection label, but the experiment was working out well and in 2016 they decided to make a varietal. Interestingly, it is made as an “orange wine”, fermented in contact with the skins like a red wine and surprisingly, given the prevalent use of oak in the wines from this producer, it is unoaked.

The wine has a deep straw yellow, almost golden hue with rich white fruit and marmalade notes on the nose. In the mouth, it is full and flavoursome with firm acidity and a long, dry finish. This is very much a food wine, a good match to roast white meats and poultry and ideal to pair with cheese, excellent value for money. €10.95 at Apolónia.

By Patrick Stuart