Cheoff

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Esporão Duas Castas Arinto-Gouveio, Alentejano 2014

Here I go - getting ideas above my station and submitting a wine review. I've mentioned wines before but I haven't actually gone all silly and committed anything developed to paper... have I?

Ah, that reminds me. I truly must get my head round implementing a calendar/index thingy for my blog. Then I'd bloomin' well know what my previous had been, wouldn't I!

This wine is from The (rather wonderful) Wine Society and was bought just before Christmas. I wanted a few bottles which looked to be slightly out of my comfort zone and could be tested with close friends. As it turned out, twelve days into January this one was still laying down waiting. A complete absence of friends so I decided to assess it on my own. 

It shouldn't affect the wine but my senses were pleased by the elegance of the bottle and the challenge of dealing with the Portuguese label text before resorting to the English translation.

Here is the website run-down of what goes into this vintage:

The duas castas (‘two varieties’) themselves vary according to the different strengths of each vintage in this part of Portugal. In 2014 the blend is 60% arinto (fresh lime, citrus and grass) and 40% gouveio (mineral and structured), each vinified separately without oak but with some lees ageing to add texture and body, to create a fresh and appetising dry white blend.

That tells a bit of the story but I discovered much more on drinking. The bouquet is fresh and gently insistent with a suggestion of breakfast juice. Now, I hadn't consciously remembered that Seville and blood oranges are very close on the marmalade making horizon but the flavours of this wine drew me straight towards the imminent tangy, bitter-sweet content of bubbling pans and cooling jars. The  immediate hit was from a sourness of grapefruit and lime. Plenty of attack from a small overload of pith. There is no candied sweet relief here as in a marmalade but this wine is not bitter. Instead, the depth and length of finish overtake any idea of astringency and restore a lovely balance. It is certainly a wine in which I recognised a very pleasant 'leafy' note right through proceedings.

This wine provided the mild challenges I was looking for. But the challenges were all overcome by the wine itself. Any suspicion that things were jangling around and wouldn't come together faded as all resolved into crisp, fresh, harmonious complexity. Just delightful drinking. 

Simple food with this one. I was eating up a roasted root vegetable and Brie pizza with oven wedges and cole slaw. The wine was even better when the food was gone and I could raise a glass to Herdade do Esporão’s vineyard and winemakers.

I'm not going to manage a completely dry January but, with nothing since this wine, I have very fond memories to sustain me a little longer in abstinence.

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