Oaky and interesting

I have often been left a bit underwhelmed when it comes to “Blanc de Noirs” wines made here in Portugal. It has become something of a trend, making white wine from red grapes, the principal being that, after pressing, there is no further skin contact. But what this actually produces is a rosé.

To remove all of colour imparted by the red skins of the grapes, other techniques are required, such as the use of a charcoal compound to filter out the colour particles. But this can also result in a loss of flavour as well as colour, unless done correctly.

In this case, we have a white made from Syrah and Touriga Franca grapes from a single vineyard on the large Monte da Ravasqueira estate to the north of Évora.
The vineyard in question “Vinha das Romãs” is named after a pomegranate orchard bordering a plot of vines that was planted in 2002 and where, according to the producer’s website, the roots of the grape vines have been influenced by the roots of the pomegranate trees.

Quite how this can influence the grapes is beyond me, but the quality of the fruit is evident in this wine, which spends one-third of its fermentation time in stainless steel before transferring to new French oak barrels where it continues to ferment and then ages for six months with batonnage.

The oak on the nose, when freshly opened, is a little overpowering for my taste, but once left to breathe (ideally decanted), the notes of toasted bread balance out with exotic aromas of fresh peaches and white fruits. In the mouth, there is crisp acidity and a light creamy texture leading to a dry and very long finish.
This is definitely a white that will benefit from a few more years of bottle-ageing to reveal even more complexity. €12.95 at Apolónia.

patrick.stuart@open-media.net