Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Antão Vaz

If I had tasted this wine blind I would not have identified it as the typical white Alentejo variety Antão Vaz, or indeed as an Alentejo wine. But this is a wine from the upper Alentejo region, in the hilly countryside around Portalegre, where the terroir has more in common with regions further north than it does with the plains of the lower Alentejo.

I have often been pleasantly surprised by the wines of this Alentejo sub-region and this is no exception.

The front label gives absolutely nothing away and the original design style, used on various wines in the portfolio of Herdade do Arrepiado Velho, makes it easy to spot on the supermarket shelves (€11.95 at Apolonia).

The wine is fermented on the lees and aged in stainless steel resulting in a pale straw colour and a complex nose with hints of lemon and pineapple. Unusually for an Antão Vaz varietal, there is a good backbone of acidity balancing well with a full and rounded texture in the mouth.

The vintage currently on the market is the 2015 but look out for the 2014 which is drinking very well at the moment, having benefited from more bottle ageing. Indeed, this wine has legs and will improve with age for at least five or six years in the bottle.

By Patrick Stuart
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