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More delicate in the new vintage, this popular Portuguese white wine is made from local grape varieties which cope well with the summer heat of the Alentejo region and are coaxed, year-in-year-out, by the skilled Esporão team to make a super adaptable food-friendly white.
Product Code: QVG-PW7541
View all products by Herdade do Esporão
The boundaries of Herdade do Esporão, in the Alentejo region of Portugal, were established in the thirteenth century, and since then it has become increasingly famous for its wine and olive oil production.Herdade do Esporão’s vineyard nursery houses an astonishing 194 grape varieties, most of which are indigenous Portuguese varieties, and 37 of which are in current production and have been selected because they best represent the Alentejo region. They work closely with educational and research institutions to catalogue and assess the rich heritage of Portugal's own grapes in order to preserve them for future generations. They are grown on schist-clay and granite soils derived from eruptive rock, and the vineyards’ location means they also benefit from many hours of sunshine each day.The secret to Herdade do Esporão’s 460ha of vineyards, however, lies in the large central lake, which moderates the classically wide range of continental-Mediterranean temperatures that characterises the region and can make wine cultivation particularly difficult. This, twinned with the fact that some of their current vines are over 40 years old, is what makes their wines unique.Despite the vineyard’s size, Esporão does not need casual labourers during the harvest: it has a team of around 100 people who have worked on the site for years, meaning they possess a loyalty and affection for the vineyards and always strive only to select the best grapes at harvest. The vineyards are farmed sustainably and certified under the Integrated Production system, and they are also working towards certified organic status.This dedication follows through to their winemaking team, led by Australian David Baverstock, a huge figure in Portuguese wine production. Their first winery – built in 1985 – functions as the beating heart of the estate: it functions almost exclusively with the help of gravity, and contains a number of tunnels and underground cellars that help them to regulate temperatures naturally. This is used for the red production, and another winery was built in 2002, which is now used exclusively to create their whites. A third, more traditional winery, dating back to 1999, is the home of their fine wine production.Vinification is split between the everyday wines (such as Monte Velho) that are fermented in large steel tanks with an automatic pumping system, and the more premium wines that are fermented in smaller tanks with robotic presses designed to give intense maceration and extraction. They also have a large tunnel where wines are fermented in barrels, sometimes on their lees, in a mixture of roughly 70% American and 30% French oak. It is situated 12m underground, where the temperature is perfect without any need for artificial intervention, which of course can be costly both financially and environmentally.
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card. Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced. Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties. Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
"Great wine to go with lunch on a sunny day and a nice change from the usual grape verities. Didn't feel like 13.5%"
I would recommend this wine
There are no press reviews for this product.
"Tasted at my local wine club 26 Jan 2019. Pale lemon in colour. Floral, honeysuckle on the nose. Good acidity, citrus notes, maybe grapefruit. Surprisingly complex and long for the price. Excellent value."
Mr Chris Sheppard (16-Jan-2019)
"I think if I were presented with this wine blind, I’d say it was dry and fruity (maybe apricots) with a long and pleasing finish, pretty interesting with a lot about it. Looking at the bottle adds to the interest - three grapes I’ve probably never had before, not in a table wine anyway. I think I’d guess the price as being quite a bit more than the £8 it cost. Not exactly a fine wine but one that would pass muster in most circumstances and in comparison against much more celebrated company."
Mr Julian Edgington (19-Dec-2018)
"A delightful light wine. perfect for my lamb shank. I will be seeking more from this vineyard."
Mr Bernard Mitchinson (21-Jan-2018)
"Wonderful full rich wine with stone fruits but a refreshing edge. A lovely surprise well made and excellent value.
Find it reminds me of a rich version of some of my favourite Italian whites like Grillo or Greco di Tufo."
Mr Chris Booth (19-Aug-2017)
"Seduced by something different, I gave this a try. Pleasant but not stunning with lemon & grapefruit flavours - “Needs food” as they say and for the adventurous, it’s a robust & reasonably priced wine to go with spicy foods & garlic prawns."
Mrs Elisabeth Pearce (26-Sep-2016)
"A good shout by Mr Bettridge. Quite full, a white wine to savour and not to gulp. Superb value."
Mr Colin Hewson (07-Aug-2016)
"The best Australian white in Portugal? Round, supple, luscious, but not cloying. Lovely."
Mr Edgar Bettridge (15-Jun-2016)
"This is classy stuff at a bargain price. Recall enjoying this when I first joined The WS in 2008. It's a lovely wine and in this case paired up well with a chicken, pepper and potato dish. Chilled for 30 mins and was a joy. Cheers!."
Mr John Canning (20-Mar-2016)
"Have been getting a lot more into Portuguese whites recently, but won't be having any more of this one. Unremarkable and unmemorable."
Mr Addam Merali-Hosiene (25-Nov-2015)
Sunday Express (6th Sep 2015)
local varieties antão vaz, roupeiro and perrum, this is a fresh, textured white
from the southern region of Alentejo, bursting with pear, white peach and melon
fruit. It’s clean and fruity, but it has some richness, too. - Jamie Goode"
"We were very impressed by this wine. Another example of the rewards of trying blends of relatively unknown traditional grape varieties. Paired really well with several seafood dishes. Has great potential as an "outdoor" wine for the summer (if we get one....) A real bargain."
Mr Michael Garden (02-Apr-2015)
"Lemony fresh, with good body. Brought back memories of some lovely whites we had on holiday in Portugal last year. And it's not chardonnay."
The Sunday Times (27th Jul 2014)
"Portugal has the rare
knack of making crisp whites in a hot climate. This is a gently flavoured
bargain. - Bob Tyrer"
Yorkshire Post (19th Jul 2014)
"A great value
addition to any wine rack... This 2012 version is perfectly balanced with
honeyed, apricot-edged fruit and a crisp, yet rounded finish. Definitely a food
wine, this will go with a slow-roasted pork belly, lightly spiced monkfish or a
creamy, mushroom quiche... The Wine Society is your port of call for this gem. - Christine Austin"
Drinking Outside The Box (20th May 2014)
"I like the soft,
friendly pear and peach flavours and honeyed, nutty character- Simon Woods"
The Independent on Sunday (13th Apr 2014)
everyday white from Portugal's Alentejo region is a mix of local and
little-known indigenous grapes, such as Roupeiro and Perrum, which produce a
very different, tangy, invigorating wine that is suitable for all kinds of
Mediterranean foods. - Terry Kirby"
Wine-pages.com (29th Mar 2014)
"Portugal continues to
be a source of excellent wines made from their gene pool of unusual grapes.
This white wine from the Alentejo to the east of Lisbon is made by the
Australian-born David Baverstock. It is a blend of Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and
Perrum, three grapes which may not be familiar, but which give this wine crisp,
delicately floral aromatics, some oatmeal and cream from ageing on the lees and
a nice, clean apple and lemon zest. In the mouth it has a hint - nothing more
than a hint - of sweetness, a nice full texture and a juicy fruit character
running into a well-balanced and creamy finish. See video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMd6phC-dXY - Tom Cannavan"
York Press (24th Aug 2013)
Monte Velho branco 2012, Alentejo (The Wine Society
£6.75, 17/20) is good economical drinking. It’s made with Portuguese regional
grape varieties, roupeiro, perrum and antão vaz. Bone dry, crisp and savoury,
it suggests orchard fruit and white flowers. - Mike Tipping
Sunday Life (18th Aug 2013)
fragrant … fresh and fruity wine with a clean dry finish. Lovely with seafood
and salad starters. - Paula Gracey"
Various (13th Jul 2013)
"Crisp, crowd-pleasing, … versatile enough to complement finger food, dips and crisps, and to accompany more elaborate feasts such as seafood salads. Bright and breezy with a light, citrusy mouthfeel … - Sam Wylie-Harris"
Belfast News Letter Group (6th Jul 2013)
"Fresh, fragrant and ferociously crisp. This modern, bright and sensitively oaked white has a rich, intensely nutty and herbaceous palate with attractive fruit and with attractive fruit and mineral flavours and was a perfect match with trout and asparagus with crushed Jersey Royals. - Raymond Gleug"
The Press Association (6th Jul 2013)
"Crisp, crowd-pleasing, … versatile enough to complement finger food, dips and crisps, and to accompany more elaborate feasts such as seafood salads. Bright and breezy with a light, citrusy mouthfeel - Sam Wylie Harris"
Lancashire Telegraph (6th Jul 2013)
"Charming white wine … It has a fresh and light taste, but don't be fooled because the alcohol level is on the high side, 13.5%. Great stuff, though - Nick Nunn"
Manchester Evening News (29th Jun 2013)
"Speaking of refreshing acidity, this wine owns it in spades. Portugal really is producing white whites of the highest order. This is made from three indigenous varieties roupeiro, perrum (or pedro ximinez) and antao vaz. The combination adds up to a scintillating wine with an aromatic bouquet and a very intense lemon-drenched flavour. I think you’d get away with matching this with all types of seafood or indeed the broad bean and pancetta risotto I paired it with. - Andy Cronshaw"
Clitheroe Advertiser (4th Jul 2013)
"It’s a savoury white representing great value for money. A blend of three grape varieties – Antao Vaz, the aromatic Roupeiro, and an old grape variety the Perrum – this offers a light straw colour, fresh fruity aroma with notes of white peach and orange peel. A well balanced wine with a richness and roundness that is well balanced."
"My second ever wine from the Society and another winner! This is a really excellent white for the price. It's great as an aperitif and also goes well with food. We had it with baked gammon and vegetables and it matched really well. It's dry yet really round in the mouth and with a lovely nose. This will certainly be on my list of repeat buys."
Mrs Kim Simm (08-Jun-2012)
"This is great and well worth trying for a change from the more common-place white wines. It is dry but brimming with fruit and is good drunk on its own or with food."
Mr Mark Jones (25-Mar-2012)
"Outstanding white. Beautifully balanced. Plenty of flavour and fruit, but with the zing you hope for from a Portuguese white (like an albarinio with a more vivacious personality). I think this is very drinkable on its own as well as with food. Very good value at this price."
Mr Kevin Barry (21-Sep-2011)
"Fragrant, 'pluralist' nose (citrus, pineapple, pear drops); full in the mouth; good acidity, creating both freshness and length. Enjoyable and good value (especially discounted)."
Mr John L Moles (17-Jan-2011)
"This is a wonderful wine that is a treat for everyday drinking, but stands up to entertaining also- a real bargain and a household staple."
Dr Joanna Seddon (08-Oct-2010)
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