Esporao Duas Castas 2016 Chosen by Clare
Something of a quiet revolution has been happening in the world of Portuguese wine over the past decade or so. The enormous region of Alentejo in the south of the country (which is about a third of Portugal) has been leading the way in producing high quality, fruit driven, modern wines and at the helm is David Baverstock.
Although an Australian by birth he has been in Portugal since 1979 and has been a pioneer in using modern wine making techniques to get the best out of the indigenous varieties, something he sees as absolutely key to the success of Portuguese wine. Head wine maker at Herdade do Esporao for 25 years he also consults for a number of estates in the Duoro region and has received countless awards for his achievements.
Duas Castas is a challenge he and his co-wine maker, Sandra Alves, set themselves every year to choose the best two white varietals of that year and make the ‘perfect’ blend which show case the distinctive character and flavour of the grapes.
This year the two chosen grapes are Roupeiro, a high yielding aromatic grape which makes wines with herbal, floral and peachy flavours and Viosinho, a grape which up until fairly recently has been over looked due to being very low yielding but which produces full bodied, fresh, fragrant and beautifully balanced wines. For this blend the wine makers decided to go 50/50 on the blend but this is not always the case.
The grapes are pressed and fermented separately using whole bunch pressing which gives the wine a crystal clear appearance and an incredibly pure, vibrant fruit character. Stainless steel tanks allow the fruit character to shine through while some ageing on it’s fine lees add a lovely texture.
It has a bright aromatic nose showing apple blossom, lime, bay leaf and grapefruit and bags and bags of flavour that make me think of key lime pie with a steely edge and a really pleasing mouthfeel. I could still taste it for an age after taking a sip.
I had it for tea with lemon and parmesan pork schnitzel and a crisp green salad which went absolutely brilliantly.