Torre de Menagem – Alvarinho/Trajadura

That most noble of Portugal’s white grapes Alvarinho is usually left alone these days to do its own thing as a varietal. In the native terroir of the Monção and Melgaço sub-regions, where indeed it produces some of Portugal’s best white wines, the rising demand for Alvarinho as a varietal has to some extent taken the spotlight off the traditional style Vinho Verde on the market. But this wine caught my eye on the shelf in Apolónia last weekend, being a blend of Alvarinho and Trajadura.

This excludes the other traditional grapes that usually make up Vinho Verde blends such as Loureiro and Avesso and the result is something very pleasant at an extremely reasonable price (€4.99).

With the typical low alcohol level of 11.5%, the malolactic fermentation in the bottle gives it a very light effervescence. On the nose there is great freshness with notes of green apples and grass. And the slightly acidity typical of this traditional-style Vinho Verde is rounded off by the Alvarinho ending with a persistent and clean finish. It is lovely as an aperitif or to accompany grilled fish and seafood.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]