I was reluctant to try this blend of Viognier and Chardonnay but given that it comes from a producer in the west coast Lisbon region, whose wines I tend to like, I decided to give it a go. This is probably the first blend of these two French grape varieties made here in Portugal.
In France, they are never blended but in the New World, especially Australia, it has become quite common. In most cases, Chardonnay with its high acidity is blended with a smaller amount of the smoother Viognier to create softer and more approachable wines.
But here Pinto have made a 50/50 blend and the result is quite interesting. Part of the blend is aged for eight months in second and third-year oak and, having read this, I was surprised to see how much the oak comes to the front. It is by no means excessive, but there are clear toasty notes both on the nose and on the finish that are more akin to ageing in new oak. Otherwise, what we have is a medley of tropical fruit and floral notes on the nose and a buttery, full-bodied texture in the mouth.
The 2014 currently available at Apolónia (€9.99) is drinking well although I would like to try it a year from now to see if the oak becomes better integrated. But there is not sufficient acidity here for further ageing. If you like a lush and full-bodied new world style white with a touch of oak then this wine will please.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]