Dreaming of a white Christmas? For most of us, nothing but a nice red will do when it comes to the main course at Christmas dinner, but serious white wines can partner just as well with roast turkey, goose or duck. And what’s more, many wine lovers, myself included, prefer a white with some body and complexity to accompany our cheese board rather than a red or even a glass of port.
For this selection, I have chosen a few old favourites alongside some recent discoveries. Wines are listed in order of prices at Apolónia supermarket.
Paxá Viognier 2018, Algarve
Oaked but by no means oaky, this is a versatile wine with enough body and acidity to stand up to roast poultry. Citric and passion fruit notes on the nose. Excellent value for money.
António Saramago Reserva Branco 2017, Setúbal
This white Reserva made from Antão Vaz and Arinto grapes is fermented in steel and aged for seven months in oak. Pale gold in colour, well-integrated oak and notes of pineapple on the nose, fresh and balanced in the mouth.
Herdade de São Miguel Esquecido, Alentejo
This is a barrel-aged white with real body and depth made from the Arinto grape. Well suited to further bottle ageing, this 2018 is drinking well now, toasty oak on the nose with notes of dried fruits and honey. Full and flavoursome in the mouth.
Dona Berta Vinhas Velhas Rabigato 2018, Douro
An un-oaked varietal made from old Rabigato vines grown at 500m altitude. Fermented on the lees to fully express the variety, this is an authentic Douro white of great finesse with delicate honey-suckle and green apple aromas. Creamy texture in the mouth and vibrant acidity.
Taboadella Encruzado Reserva 2019, Dão
The Dão region’s trademark Encruzado grapes make some of Portugal’s greatest white wines and this example from new-kid-on-the-block producer Taboadella is an excellent example. Partially aged in new and used oak as well as steel, the wine is a pale golden colour with floral and peachy notes on the nose. Excellent structure and freshness.
Mestre Daniel Vinho de Talha XXVI, Alentejo
This is an unfiltered claypot orange wine. Deep coppery yellow, with notes of almonds, white fruits and wet stones, dry and full-bodied with firm tannins. Not for the uninitiated in this style of wine, needs careful decanting due to excessive sediment.
Quinta da Pedra Alvarinho 2016, Minho
The beautiful bottle design will help decorate your table and what lies within will not disappoint. One of the great Alvarinhos, aged for six months in oak, six months in steel then two years in the bottle before being released. Outstanding.
Filipa Pato Nossa Calcário 2017, Bairrada
Made from the traditional Bairrada variety Bical, from vines at least 25 years old. Barrel-fermented and aged for six months with batonnage, this is a rich and complex white with well-integrated oak. On the nose, there are unusual notes of toasted nuts and fresh fruits, following through with great freshness in the mouth; a wine that shows originality as well as quality.