Fernao Pires, Moscatel
Although Portugal has been producing wine for centuries, its entry into the modern era of winemaking and trade is relatively new. Only over the last several decades has Portugal begun to expand its appearance into international markets with notice. Previously, Portugal was known almost exclusively for its fortified wine, Port, and not much else.
Portugal is also relatively secluded, just sharing a border with Spain to the west, it has remained a bit of an anomaly, cut off from viticultural progress in neighbouring European countries. With the introduction of international varietals in recent years, Portugal has expanded its already large portfolio of grapes grown. Retention of old methods and commitment to indigenous varietals, many of which are not grown outside the country, have made Portuguese wines unique and sought after.
Portugal is divided into 11 main wine regions, most notable of the bunch are Dão (north-central) and Duoro Valley (northeast). Lisboa (once called Estremadura) is home to the capital of the same name and is a prolific wine producing region. From Lisboa, you may see wines labelled from Alenquer, Bucelas and Colares, the sub-regions within the larger area. A Portuguese wine label may be difficult to interpret with obscure regions and unheard of varietals, here are some common terms to help you understand what you are drinking: doce = sweet, quinta or herdade = farm/chateau/property, vinho branc = white wine, vinho tinto = red wine. Enjoy chilled to 8-10 C and serve by 2020.
Clean and clear, a pale canary yellow colour with a clear outer rim.
Tropical flavours balanced with zesty citrus fruits, with lemon and lime zest and hints of pink grapefruit. We find lots of apple notes from crunchy and golden to the tart skin of a Granny Smith. Fresh green grass and thyme add an herbaceousness without sharp vegetal tones. With some warmth, richer notes of baked apple and white peaches add a bit of sweetness to the nose.
We are welcomed by a round and lush first sip that holds more orchard fruits than citrus, like pear, peach and apple. As the wine travels across the palate it becomes a bit more crisp and clean, with really good acidity that causes our gums to tingle. From the mid-palate to the finish the fruit profile becomes greener with key lime, white blossoms and tart apple skin. It is light bodied and easy to drink, but far from simple. The finish is clean and ends softly.
A pasta salad is a perfect pairing that can be created with whatever you have on hand; olives, fresh herbs, leftover grilled chicken or shrimp. We like orzo with tomatoes, olives, arugula and a herb-filled olive dressing.