A big oaky white from Beira Interior
Whilst many producers are moving away from obviously oaked white wines, this recently launched varietal from the Beira Interior bucks the trend showing the potential of a little-known wine region of Portugal and of the Síria grape.
The region is located above the Serra da Estrela and below the Douro, hugging the Spanish border. Quinta do Cardo is a winery dedicated to organic production and this wine has been made from vines dating back to the early 70s, planted at an altitude of over 700 metres.
The Síria grape is better known as Roupeiro in the Alentejo where it is the most widely planted variety. In the warmer low altitude terroir of the Alentejo, it is a high yielding grape, used mostly for blending in mass-produced low quality wines. But the Síria grapes grown in Beira Interior are known for their quality, producing wines of great freshness and acidity, quite the opposite of Roupeiro down south.
This wine is unashamedly oaky, fermenting and ageing in new French oak for 22 months and this 2014 vintage was launched onto the market less than a year ago after further bottle-ageing – a new arrival on the shelves at Apolónia, priced at €18.95.
On the nose, the toasty oak mingles with notes of lemon and tropical fruits. But in the mouth there is little evidence of the oak, such is the depth of flavour of the wine, full and unctuous with great acidity and freshness.
This is a white of the dinner table, ideal with roast white meats and well suited to enjoy with cheese. A few more years in the bottle will definitely reap rewards.
By Patrick Stuart