Esporão Reserva branco 2014

I think of this wine a bit like an old friend whose company I used to enjoy regularly but miss these days as we seem to have drifted apart.

When Esporão launched their Reserva white – it must be close to 20 years ago now – it soon became recognised as one of Portugal’s best. This was back when oaky whites were all the rage as producers in the New World flooded Europe with cheap Chardonnay.

But Esporão, with its labels showcasing the work of a different Portuguese artist for each vintage,  stood out as a modern white wine made with indigenous Portuguese grapes, predominantly Antão Vaz, Arinto and Roupeiro, where the quality of the fruit and careful oak work has already made something special.

The 2014 is one of the best vintage, if not the best, that I have tried yet when drunk this young. But, as a wine with some complexity and good acidity, it ages well and the Esporão whites I have enjoyed most have always had a good few years of bottle-ageing behind them.

The difference with this 2014 that is currently on the market (around €10 in shops) is that the oak is less present, allowing the fruit and freshness of the wine to shine through.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]