The phrase Manda Chuva in Portuguese translates roughly to the big boss, or he who sends rain, relating, of course, to God. Quite why the name was chosen for this wine is beyond me, but what we have here is another very good and totally different wine from Herdade do Portocarro.
The estate is technically part of the Setúbal wine region but actually lies on the border of the Alentejo. The winery has a well deserved reputation for producing some outstanding wines using grape varieties that are mostly outside of the norm both in the region and in Portugal.
One variety in particular that has been championed by producer José Mota Capitão is the Italian red wine grape (of Chianti fame) Sangiovese. He produces an excellent red, Anima, made exclusively from Sangiovese, as is Anima Rosé, which is one of my personal favourite Portuguese pinks.
New to the shelves of Apolonia (€13.95) this summer came Manda Chuva, a blanc de noir (red from white) also made from 100% Sangiovese. The wine is fermented in used oak vats and matured in stainless steel resulting in a very interesting and unusual white. The colour is pale yellow with gentle citric and white fruit notes on the nose, fresh and firm in the mouth with nicely balanced acidity and long clean finish.