As I write this review longhand during a summer heatwave-induced power blackout, it is quite uncomfortable outside. The heat index surpassed triple digits before noon, humidity is swamp thick, and there is zero sign of relief until well into the evening hours. I’m sure this is a scene familiar to many, and it is another in an ever-growing series of incidents one could use to further the argument that the climate shift is in full effect. This may have an impact on nearly everything we love on this site: bourbon, beer, tequila, and wine to name but a few. Some regions are planning out how they will adjust, and others are already executing that vision. Which long-windedly brings us to the Alentejo region of Portugal. This south-central region is already making wines with grapes varietals that are drought-resistant, ripen early, and are quite full of flavor. With this encouraging news in mind, we took a brief tour of some of the region’s recent white wine offerings.
2021 Herdade do Esporão Colheita Branco – We reviewed several Herdade do Esporão offerings earlier this spring and to much delight, this one stands tall with its siblings. A ripe blend of Antão Vaz, Viosinho, and Vermentino grapes pops with notes of citrus zest and a layer of papaya lingering underneath. There’s a light touch of spice and peach on the finish, adding complexity and amplifying the citrus influence. A solid table buy for everyday occasions and not-so-everyday ones… l ike weather-induced power outages. A- / $18
2021 Torre de Palma Arinto & Alvarinho – Bright and effusive, offering up a wonderful balance of pineapple and peach, with a trace of white blossom as the glass warms. The finish is clean with minimal acidity and just a touch of pepper which will heighten the temptation to immediately reach for another sip and repeat the process. A- / $40
2018 Adega de Portalegre Winery Conventual DOC Reserva White – Quite distinctive from others in the collection largely due to the use of Fernão Pires, Siria, and Bical grapes (along with Arinto), none of which make an appearance elsewhere. It hits the palate with a blend of ripe tangerine and lime, then tempers its attack with a dash of honey and mild minerality. There’s a doughy note on the finish that keeps things engaging and adds some welcome complexity. Pairs well with a savory dinner. B+ / $25
2020 Adega de Redondo Porta da Ravessa Special Edition White – A blend of Verdelho, Arinto, and Antão Vaz that’s bright gold in the glass with notes of peach and mild vanilla on the nose as it develops. The vanilla remains present on the palate while a sharp attack of lemon rounds things out on the finish. Refreshing and engaging, it’s a solid value and a good representation of the region. B+ / $15
2021 Marques De Borba Colhetia White – A trio of Arinto, Antão Vaz, and Viognier (percentages unlisted) deliver notes of lychee and grass with slight minerality on the nose as it sits in the glass. Plenty of fruit on the palate, with pineapple and bright lemon taking turns in an expressive finish. Well-balanced and agreeable from start to finish. B / $13
2020 Rocim Mariana White – Antão Vaz (60%), Arinto (30%), and Alvarinho (10%). There’s a highly aromatic, almost perfume-like nose of white blossom, melon, and pineapple that grabs hold and remains dominant until mid-palate, where it takes a hard-right turn into a vegetal finish. It offers quite the contrast in an otherwise pleasurable roundup. C+ / $16