Portugal as a wine-making country is just cool. First off, this little(ish) country west of Spain often gets recognition for its solid wines retailing for oh-so-delightfully low prices. Strangely, as the Euro creeps up and up, Portuguese daily sipping wine prices are staying pretty stable, too. Saude! Second, it sports the oldest appellation system in the world, with recognition for quality wine-producing in the Douro Valley beating France out by 200 years. Third, while everyone and their global brothers and sisters were trying to 'compete' with the French by cultivating native French varietals, Portugal stuck to its guns and continued to cultivate native varietals like Touriga Nacional (grape used in Port), Touriga Franca, Tinto Cao and Trincadeira, to name a few. Overtime the Portuguese wine-making community discovered many of its native varietals could be made into solid table wines, rather than just fortified, dessert wines. And here we are in 2008 benefiting left and right.... One of my go-to wines this summer is the 2007 Quinta da Alorna Arintho. Never heard of Arintho? Not to worry! You're in good company. And fortunately you have me here at Pour Favor to give you the skinny on this versatile, food-friendly, palate-loving white wine.
The 'experts' say (and I have a hard time not agreeing) Arintho is one of the varietals in Portugal with a large potential for the production of quality wine. The grape originates from Bucelas, not too far from the capitol city of Lisbon. The Quinta da Alorna take is made from 100% Arintho grapes, so you're getting as authentic an experience as you can, particularly if this is your first try of Arintho. The nose is immediately enticing. It delivers fresh and fruity flavors as soon as you dive in, too. It's tough to put your finger on, admittedly, but I always get pear, white peaches and wet stones. My fellow sipping companion last night picked out cantelope (I got noth'n on that one), grapefruit, and lychee fruit (good call). The palate is fairly weighty - perhaps best described as "creamy, citrus goodness" - with flavors of mineral, pink grapefruit and a touch of pear nectar.
Suffice to say, if you've been enjoying your Vinho Verde, dole out the extra $2 and give yourself a real Portuguese treat! Find yourself the Quinta da Alorna Arintho. And quickly. I'm liable to scour the city for every remaining bottle.
What's your Portuguese go-to white this summer?