It’s been over a year since I last tasted a Portuguese still wine and I’m struck by the similarities that I’ve come across in the notes that I’ve taken for both. On the one hand, this seems to indicate that I have a pretty consistent palate with no wild changes. On the other, maybe it’s a sign that I should do some more reading to expand my vocabulary.
- Clarity: Clear
- Intensity: Medium
- Colour: Lemon
- Condition: Clean
- Intensity: Medium
- Development: Youthful
- Sweetness: Dry
- Acidity: Medium+
- Tannin: N/A
- Alcohol: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Flavor Intensity: Medium+
- Finish: Medium+
- Quality: Very Good
- Readiness/Cellaring: Can drink now, potential to cellar
- Identity: Portugal / Lisboa / Arinto
- Price: High-priced ($30)
- Long, thin tears
- No evidence of gas or sediment
- Aromas of white peaches, green apple, curd, lemon
- Flavours of white peach, lemon curd, lemon pith, walnut, sawdust
- Slight waxy bitterness, chalky minerality
- Profile seems chardonnay-like with descriptors hinting at oak and/or malolactic fermentation
- Very flavourful and textural wine, would match with oysters, seafood, cured meats
My first surprise was when I wrote the term “chardonnay-like”, something I hadn’t done since tasting the previous Portuguese wine that I’ve tasted over a year ago.
My second surprise was finding that Arinto is a varietal that I am not completely new to. A quick look back shows the previous wine tasted contained Arinto as part of the blend.
This to me really highlights the importance of taking notes once again. Without looking at my own history, I probably would have forgotten that I had tried this wine at all, and Portuguese wines would forever be new to me. In fact, I had been shopping for an exotic new wine to try, and when I found this wine I had been thinking “ooh, a white wine from Portugal, that’s new”.
It could be a happy coincidence – had I remembered that I had tasted a Portuguese white wine before, I might have glossed over this selection and chosen something else less enlightening. Perhaps an example of selective ignorance working in my favour.
Could there be a reason for this similarity? Perhaps in trying to break the stereotype of producing only fortified wines, Portuguese winemakers may have unconsciously leaned towards a style of wine that would be accepted and understood internationally. Whether or not this is true would require deeper discussion.
With this tasting, I might also run the danger of type-casting Portuguese wines as always being chardonnay-like, so now I should go ahead and try as many different Portuguese wines to realign my biases. But for now, if anyone asks for something familiar exotic, I would probably be adding Portuguese wines to my list of recommendations.