Arinto has to be one of the most versatile and interesting varieties amongst Portugal’s indigenous grapes.
Years ago, it was known for producing complex whites of great longevity in its native Bucelas sub-region near Lisbon. Today, however, it can be found pretty much all over the country and it does very well both here in the Algarve and in the Alentejo.
Owned by a Norwegian winemaker, the Vicentino estate and winery is located just outside of Zambujeira do Mar on the west coast, making it just in the Alentejo and very close to the Algarve and they produce some very good wines.
One of my favourites is their “Naked” Pinot Noir, a light and fruity red to drink chilled in the summer costing around €10. They make a range of reds, whites and rosés in different price ranges and quality is consistently high, but I had not yet tried their Arinto until I spotted a bottle in Apolónia last week (€11.49).
This is a fresh and fragrant white that reminds us in some ways of Sauvignon Blanc in the Sancerre sense, with subtle notes of fresh green grass on the nose and a vibrant acidity in the mouth. An excellent partner for grilled fish.