Wine Talk – Cartuxa white

By Patrick Stuart [email protected]

It’s not often I write about an old classic, especially when there is nothing really new to tell, but this Cartuxa white continues to stand out today, as it has for many years, as one of the best from the Alentejo.

With so many new wines appearing on the market vying for our attention, it’s easy to overlook these golden oldies.

The Cartuxa winery near Évora, run by the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida for some 250 years, and before that in the hands of the monks of Coeli since the 14th century, is one of Portugal’s best known and most respected producers.

It is certainly the winery that first put the Alentejo on the map as a serious viniviticultural region and is famous mostly for its reds, amongst them the main label Cartuxa and the premium Pêra Manca.

The white may not carry the prestige of its red siblings but is a solid and reliable wine, representing good value for money at less than €10.

This is an un-oaked white of considerable body, achieved by 10 months of ageing on the lees with batonage in stainless steel vats.

Made from a blend of indigenous grapes (Antão Vaz, Arinto and Roupeiro), there is seductive fruit on the nose with notes of ripe pear and pineapple carrying through to the palate, with good acidity and a rounded mouthfeel.

There is sufficient structure here to ensure that the wine will improve after a few years in the bottle. This 2010 was drinking very nicely, but another couple of years in the bottle would reap rewards for those of us who appreciate the complexity of aged whites.

Promotional price at Apolónia supermarket

(valid from May 30 to June 5)

CARTUXA WHITE: €7.99

(retail price €8.99)