Big, bold and wonderfully delicious, this is, amongst other things, a white for red drinkers. It is full, rich, smooth, svelte and yet delivers its flavours with subtlety and refinement.
You get a massive array of flavours on the nose, from perfumed jasmine and wisteria, to stone-fruits and on to smokey, nutty characteristics, then vanilla and at last, ripe yellow fruits. It's a wonderfully expressive wine that is clearly hewn out of the Alentejo's warm climate, while finding balance (of sorts) in the coolness of the altitude, which is seen in the retaining of some acidity and the clean, floral finish.
It's a big wine, but never blousey.
Owned by the hugely important and influential Symington family, this winery is set in the hills to the north of Portalegre on the slopes of the São Mamede mountain range, the highest in the whole of the Alentejo region. This gives the vines cooling night time temperatures, allowing for the presence of all those unctious, irresistible red and dark fruit flavours we've come to expect from the Alentejo, but with balancing freshness and acidity - magic.
The vineyards themselves are mostly made of schistous and granitic soils that are critically poor in fertility, yet full of mineral content. This combination encourages great depth of vinestock and increases the quality of the grapes that grow there. It's also a distinct difference to many of the other regions in the Alentejo that have more fertile soils - though they can copy the sort of flavours you get in these finer wines, you'll never get the same elegance and finesse. That's why the Symington family have only recently bought the estate - they were only going to get something that was good enough for their own high standards.
This reserva-style white is made using 75% Arinto and 25% Verdelho (Verdejo). The grapes are hand picked and fermented in 500-litre old oak vats before lees aging and batonage. It's a careful balance that they require in order not to end up with one of a few results - either too oaky, too alcoholic, too heavy or too confected. They get it spot-on, as you'd probably guess!
Grape(s): Verdejo, Arinto
Style: Svelte, Smooth, Silky, Round, Rich, Powerful, Perfumed, Full, Fruity, Elegant, Creamy, Complex, Broad
Best food matches: Warm Salads, Tuna, Sushi, Squid, Shellfish, Scallops, Salads, Poultry, Pork, Pizza, Oysters, Lobster, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Fine Dining, Charcuterie, Asparagus