During this long summertime period the weight of the heat can be lifted…when I get a new-to-me wine for review. This time it’s a 2019 Quinta da Fonte Souto Branco, DOC Alentejo, Portalegre. Before I opened the bottle to make my tasting notes I learned (see “more information” below) that the word fonte means water and the other word foreign to me, souto, means chestnut grove. Wine made with water from a chestnut grove sounded just perfect to me. Also learned that this the grape, Arinto, a popular variety in Portugal, was blended with 25% Verdelho grapes to make this wine.
Pretty light yellow with just the slightest tinge of shiny green grass in color, then came aromas that included sweet pineapple, green apple, cream, toast and a little ash – really different than what I’ve noted in any other white, must be the Arinto grape I’m unfamiliar with. On the taste, I noted crisp lemon-lime, lemon pith, tart apple, pineapple again and the fruit holding on for a long satisfying finish. There was a mild acidity, that also contributed to the finish, but it was the citrus – notably the lime and lemon – that really gripped the front of my palate. We enjoyed this wine with a Chicken Fettucine Alfredo, as I thought the crispness of the wine would serve to both cut through and complement the rich creamy sauce. And it did.
…experience the best of Portalegre in the Alentejo region of Portugal through Symington Family Estates’ expertly balanced offering. Hailing from a place where water “fonte” flows freely and the vineyards are touched by a sprawling “souto”, or chestnut grove, the 2019 Quinta da Fonte Souto Branco, DOC Alentejo, Portalegre (SRP $25) is a crisp white wine from Symington Family Estates’ foray in Southern Portugal.
…(this is) a white wine that truly embodies all the strengths of the estate’s unique terroir, like the freshness and balance afforded by the vineyard’s altitude of 1,640 feet and the concentration of flavor derived from mature, low-yielding vines which are nestled in schist and granite soils. In Portalegre, the 2019 vintage saw a dry and mild agricultural year, with shifts in diurnal temperatures in the hotter months resulting in even progression of maturity along with desirable preservation of acidity in the grapes.
The wine is a wonderful expression of the Arinto variety, which is widely regarded as Portugal’s finest white grape, and is accompanied by 25% of Verdelho. The grapes were handpicked and de-stemmed followed by a gentle crushing and then briefly fermented in stainless steel before aging in a combination of new French and central European oak. The result is a golden wine with aromas of subtle, smoky toast and hints of vanilla, floral, honeysuckle, and a touch of grapefruit. The palate gives way to a welcoming creamy texture, punctuated by hints of lichee, yellow plum, tea, and white pepper.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.