Back in the summer of 2018, we visited an Organic vineyard ‘Monte Da Casteleja’ situated in the Algarve region of Portugal. We were so impressed with the quality of the wines we had to bring some back and now I’ve just revisited their white (Branco) almost a year on, to see if the wine has developed from what already was a deliciously rich and complex but unusual drink.
Winemaker Guillaume Abel Luís Leroux vision for the vineyard was to produce wine the old fashioned way with everything done manually including harvesting, treading the grapes, maceration with stems and ageing in wooden Barrels. His enthusiasm was infectious as he guided us around his vineyard, he was immensely proud of his wines especially this ‘Organic Branco’ in which he was told by the locals back in 2000 (the year he first planted his vines) that the area was unsuitable for producing white wine and was better off sticking to reds but he was determined to prove the doubters wrong he ended up producing something intensely flavoured, rich in colour and in my opinion a stunning wine.
You only have to look at the colour to realise this is going to be different, made with a blend of Arinto and Perrum which is used in making sherry. The Arinto give it the acidity and freshness and the Perrum its depth and richness. Lovely smell of stewed pears and apples leap from the glass and there is a sherry-like aroma which is also pronounced. On first sip that dry sherry flavour dominates but then caramel (think toffee apple) takes over with some grapefruit and orange, even marzipan there is also a little orange marmalade about it. The finish lingers and went well with food, especially fish dishes.
Has it changed in a year, I would say it has become even more intense and for the better, think it might have got deeper in colour as well.
All Guillaume wines were fantastic but I must admit the white was my favourite, a very interesting and flavoursome wine which is very different and more akin to a dry sherry.
Shame you can only get it in Portugal but if you are in the Algarve area pop along to the vineyard and try it for yourselves.