I’ve long been a fan of this winery, which is located on the northern bank of the Douro river but technically is considered to be in the Vinho Verde region.
Back in the 90s and early noughties, it gained a reputation as one of Portugal’s top white wine producers. The winery changed hands and was relaunched in 2012, but the oenologist, Rui Cunha, continues on board with the focus still very much on their white wines.
At the entry level, they have some very good unoaked whites, such as the Avesso Nacional, but moving up a notch, we have their two white Reservas, both benefiting from careful oak work using a mixture of new and used French and Austrian barrels.
The wines, however, are totally different from each other in style, priced at €15 (Avesso Reserva) and €24 (Covela Reserva Branco) – both available here in the Algarve from Garrafeira Soares.
The Avesso Reserva 2019 is a varietal made from the Minho region’s local Avesso grape, pale straw yellow in colour with an exuberant nose of white and citrus fruits mixing with floral and tropical fruit. The oak is barely present on the nose, with just six months of barrel-ageing lending a slight creaminess and depth of flavour in the mouth, balanced with excellent acidity and freshness.
The Reserva Branco is a far more deep and complex wine, a white to enjoy with roast poultry dishes or a good cheese plate. This is one of the very few Portuguese white wines intentionally held back by the producer for bottle-ageing, with this 2016 only just having been released this year. It will continue to improve with age for some years to come.
The wine is made from a blend of Avesso, Chardonnay and Arinto grapes fermented and aged in oak for more than 18 months, presenting a light golden colour in the glass. On the nose, toasty oak is balanced with intense mature fruit notes of pears and white plums mingling with spices.
Medium- to full-bodied in the mouth with deep fruit flavours rising above the oak, leading to a long, dry finish.