Top shelf whites 6 – Alentejo


Private Selection 2012

By Patrick Stuart [email protected]

This is the last in my series of articles on Portugal’s top white wines, having covered the Minho, Douro, Dão, Bairrada, Lisbon Coast and now Alentejo regions over the last six weeks.

As for the Algarve, I have decided not to single out any one wine but rather will soon be giving an overview of the best whites produced locally, irrespective of price.

To finish off my series on Portugal’s best white wines, the choice of Alentejo winery was not a difficult one. It was Esporão Reserva white that really put the Alentejo on the map as far as high quality white wine is concerned, and this Private Selection is proof that even in the hot climate of the Alentejo, it is possible to produce great whites so far south.

Produced from the estate’s best Antão Vaz and Semillon vines, with an average age of 12 years, it is barrel-fermented in new French oak and aged on the lees for six months with some stirring.

There is great complexity and less upfront oak than on the normal white Reserva, with a complex mix of lemony citric and ripe exotic fruit notes on the nose balancing well with the toasty oak. In the mouth, the texture is creamy with solid acidity ending in a long and lush finish.

Like most of the “top shelf” whites I have featured in this series, the 2012 currently on the market is a white wine that will benefit from more bottle ageing.

Promotional price at Apolónia supermarket

(valid from September 19 to September 25)

ESPORÃO PRIVATE SELECTION 2012 WHITE: €17.95 (retail price €21.95)