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2017 Esporao Reserva White (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their May 2019 "Weekday Wines(see blue link below).

2017 Esporao Reserva White - May 2019 Decanter review

The Esporão project began in the Alentejo from an irrepressible desire to make the finest wines. This is the basis of everything they do. Part of the Alentejo’s montado ecosystem (cork oak forests), in Portugal, Herdade do Esporão has extraordinary conditions for agriculture – large thermal amplitudes, poor and various soils and extraordinary biodiversity that helps them produce in balance with the environment. With 691.9 hectares of vineyards, olive groves and other crops, they grow using organic methods .

Please click the blue link below to see an excellent and informative tasting note / information sheet about this wine from the winemakers at Esporao.

Esporão Reserva White 2017 - fiche technique  

£15.10

Casa Ferreirinha Planalto Douro Branco 2017 (1x 75cl)

The earlier 2015 vintage was awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of Douro Table Wines (see blue link below).  It is subjective, of course, but we judge the 2017 to be of at least a very similar quality.

Casa Ferreirinha, Planalto Branco 2015 - June 2017 Decanter review

This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. It has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by Luis Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Esteva and Papa Figos, allied to a lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.

This white blend comes from relatively high-altitude vineyards above the river Douro. The grapes were harvested by hand in the highlands and plateaus of the region and were selected for their balance between phenolic maturity and excellent freshness. The soil in the Douro Valley is schistous; a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties.

2017 was a very warm and dry year for the Douro with almost every month from December 2016 to August 2017 recording below average rainfall. Average temperatures were much higher than normal, especially in the crucial spring months of March, April, and May. This meant that the vine’s growing cycle was much more advanced than usual, often being one or two weeks ahead of the expected schedule. The advanced maturation of the vines and grapes coupled with heatwaves in June and July meant that the 2017 harvest was destined to be one of the earliest ever recorded. Harvest began in the last week of August and finished in most areas by the end of September, a time when most harvests usually begin.

On arrival at the winery of Casa Ferreirinha in Vila Real, the grapes were destemmed and softly crushed. They were pressed and the must clarified by static decanting at low temperatures. This was followed by a long alcoholic fermentation at controlled temperatures between 16ºC-18ºC. After fermentation, around 20% of the wine was aged in used casks for three months, the remainder held in stainless steel tanks.

This wine is made using Viosinho 25%, Malvasia 20%, Fina Arinto/Pedernã 15%, Códega 15%, Gouveio (Verdelho) 15%, Moscatel 5%, Rabigato 5%.

This wine is lemon yellow in colour with golden lights. On the nose, intense floral notes stand out with hints of tropical fruit and earthy, slightly shrubby tones. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with a lively and well-integrated acidity, alongside floral notes and touches of white peaches. The finish is long and fragrant.

£9.20

Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Branco 2017 (1x 75cl)

This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, it has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by Luis Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Esteva and Papa Figos, allied to a lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.

The selected grape varieties were sourced from the Quinta do Sairrão estate located at a high altitude in the Cima Corgo region. The mountainous vineyards here have schist soils with vines planted either in vertical rows or on traditional patamares (terraces). The selected plots are ideal for optimal maturation thanks to the hot days and cool evenings bringing out the fresh fruit character of the grapes.

2017 was a very warm and dry year for the Douro with almost every month from December 2016 to August 2017 recording below average rainfall. Average temperatures were much higher than normal, especially in the crucial spring months of March, April, and May. This meant that the vine’s growing cycle was much more advanced than usual, often being one or two weeks ahead of the expected schedule. The advanced maturation of the vines and grapes coupled with heatwaves in June and July meant that the 2017 harvest was destined to be one of the earliest ever recorded. Harvest began in the last week of August and finished in most areas by the end of September, a time when most harvests usually begin.

The grapes were hand-picked and selected in the vineyard and on arrival at the estate's own winery. They were then destemmed and gently crushed in a pneumatic press. Vinification took place with skin maceration in order to extract the aromatic precursors of the white wine. The musts were gently pressed and transferred to French oak barrels, with battonage, where they completed fermentation and were matured for about eight months.

This wine is golden in colour with an intense aroma of pear and melon, with floral notes, subtle minerality and well-integrated oak. On the palate, this wine is full bodied with a lively acidity and good length on the finish.

£12.85

Macanita Branco 2018 (1x 75cl)

We also strongly recommend the Macanita red/Tinto.

Antonio Maçanita is one of the most dynamic, brilliant young winemakers in Portugal, crafting wines everywhere from the Azores archipelago to Alentejo. In the Douro, this brother and sister team - with sister Joana - has managed to pool their considerable winemaking talent to showcase the breadth of terroir in the oldest classified European appellation. Sourcing from sites spread across the 3 subzones of the Douro, the Maçanitas use classic Douro grape varieties with modern winemaking techniques to produce wines of balance, elegance and true Douro character. Somehow managing to combine Antonio’s wink-and-nod irreverence and Joana’s steadfast pursuit ofpreserving Portuguese winemaking traditions, this brother and sister team has captured the spirit of the Douro as only they are able.

Vines mainly (80%) tended in schist soil at 750m (2300ft) elevation in Baixo Corgo, Douro, with some 20% of the grapes taken from the more altitudinous Douro Superior. The average temperature of the former is the lowest in the Douro, and ripeness is often a challenge here, but it also lends an intrinsic freshness to the wine.

Hand harvested. Whole bunch press, cold fermentation using wild yeasts in stainless steel. Racked to stainless steel for 6 months aging before bottling.

70% Viosinho, 20% Codega do Larinho, 10% Gouveio (aka Godello).

See also the above in more diagrammatic form from Macanita (blue link below).

Macanita Branco 2018 - fiche technique

Maçanita’s Douro Branco exemplifies the confluence of richness and elegant minerality that is the hallmark of Douro whites. Bright yellow-gold. On the nose, fresh floral aromas comingle with ripe yellow and green orchard fruit and a touch of slate. On the palate, bright and juicy, with mouthfilling concentration and refreshing acidity. A core of green and gold apple, pear and white pepper are wrapped with pleasant floral and mineral flavors on the long finish.

£14.95

Quinta Da Lixa Vinho Verde 2018 (1x75cl)

The Meireles family have nurtured the region’s varietal characteristics to produce wines with a true sense of place. The Vinho Verde boasts eye-catching packaging and a typical fresh style of this type of wine.

After the grapes are picked by hand, the grapes are pressed at low pressure. Fermentation then takes place in stainless tanks at a controlled temperature (12 to 14ºC) over three weeks.

This wine has fruity, floral notes, which are fresh and well balanced. The nose is reminiscent of aromatic green apple, melon and white peach. The palate is balanced and smooth with a generous texture and a touch of petillance. White peach, apples and tangerine on the palate leading to a long, crisp finish.

£9.05

Vale da Capucha Branco Blend 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2018 edition article on Portuguese whites (see blue link below).

Vale da Capucha Branco Blend 2015 - June 2018 Decanter review

The Marques family and their estate, Vale da Capucha, represent the viticultural renaissance that the Lisboa DO has experienced over the last decade. Having grown fruit for bulk wine production for a few generations, they realised that their heritage and terroir was something worth expressing. While their adjacent neighbors routinely turn out yields in excess of 25 tons per hectare, Vale do Capucha has trimmed theirs to under 6.

Only 10 km from the Atlantic Ocean just outside of Lisbon, Vale do Capucha is a property whose wines speak to the presence and proximity of the ocean. Winemaker Pedro Marques has taken the reins of the estate from his family, replanted it entirely with indigenous varieties, and has set about expressing a singular message of terroir. Pedro follows the ethos that 'great wine is made in the vineyard'.  The precept is simple: maximum human work in the vineyard and minimum intervention in the winery. The resulting terroir-driven wines come from a medley of Portuguese varieties.

Capucha refers to the ancient Roman military road that led from Lisbon to Santarai, and both fossilized seashells and ancient Roman artifacts are consistently unearthed on the property, situated on a 400 million year-old thread of Kimmeridgian limestone. With minimal interventionist winemaking, Marques manages to clearly express the minerality and salinity of these ocean-inflected vineyards.

This is a blend dominated by the indigenous variety of Fernao Pires, a grape that possesses of terrific structure and aromatics and demonstrates the minerality of this maritime terroir wonderfully well. Intensity and purity of fruit and mineral character are the hallmarks of Capucha Branco.

80% Fernao Pires, 20% Arinto from organically-grown (certified thus) vines planted in 1996. 

Innoculated fermentation with native yeast strains in stainless steel, cold stabilization. Aged on the lees for 8 months in stainless steel. Unfiltered and unfined.

Exotic tropical and stone fruit, mixed with spice tones, anise, paperwhites and dusty mineral. Unmistakeable sea spray aromas. On the palate, fleshy stone fruit gives way to an intensely mineral backbone with chalk and sea salt providing balance and length.

This wine is suitable for vegans.

£15.45
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