This wine is a good example of a Portuguese producer listening to the market and adapting the style of a wine.
I tried Chocapalha Reserva white a few years ago and found it to be far too oaky for my taste. The same producer makes a fabulous un-oaked Chardonnay varietal, not to mention their excellent reds, but after my previous experience of the white reserva I had given it a wide berth.
That was until I saw the wine with 25% off in Apolónia last week which prompted me to give it another try. And what a change!
The oak is still there but no longer obvious; the result of using mostly second-year oak barrels rather than new oak for the fermentation and battonage.
Another change is the use of Arinto (15% of the blend) along with the Chardonnay as opposed to Viosinho previously – these changes have been in place since the 2013 vintage.
This is a wine that will greatly benefit from a few years of bottle-ageing but already displays good complexity with peach, white fruit and grassy notes on the nose, good acidity and an underlying freshness in the mouth coming from the Arinto and contributing to a long and clean finish.
Summing up, this is a modern high quality food wine, certainly not for quaffing and representing good value for money, even at the full price of €15.95 in Apolónia.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]