Dive into Spanish and Portuguese White Wines

Long known for their famed red and fortified bottlings, these two countries are producing many white wines you are going to want to try.
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The Iberian Peninsula is home to many notable red wines. Tempranillo, often tannic and full-bodied, is the signature grape of Spain, and Port, a fortified wine, has been produced in Portugal since the seventeenth century and is sought after around the world.

There’s no denying that both these countries have a long history with reds. But they’re producing many exceptional whites. With thousands of miles of coastline, Spain’s white bottles are often crisp and perfect for pairing with seafood. Similar to Spain, bottles from Portugal are often light and crisp and perfect for pairing with many dishes.

Here are some of our top-picks, which are also budget-friendly, from the Iberian Peninsula.

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Boas Quintas 2017 Fonte do Ouro Reserva Especial Encruzado (Dão); $19, 92 points. This rich, wood-aged Encruzado is ripe, packed with toastiness plus apple and yellow-fruit flavors. With spice and lovely acidity, the wine is opulent, elegant and ready to drink in 2019. MS Walker. Editors’ Choice. —Roger Voss

Global Wines 2017 Cabriz Reserva Encruzado (Dão); $13, 91 points. The wood aging has made a world of difference to this fruity wine. It has added complexity to the white fruits and acidity and give the wine fine depth of flavor. Toast and spice show strongly as well as a rich aftertaste. Drink the wine from 2019. Tri-Vin Imports. Best Buy. —R.V.

Quinta de Malgaço 2017 QM Alvarinho (Vinho Verde); $23, 91 points. The Alvarinho grape thrives in the northernmost region of Vinho Verde, Monção and Melgaço. This ripe wine shows the grape off to the best advantage, with rich, creamed-apple and ripe lime flavors. It’s textured and very fruity. Drink from 2019. M Imports, LLC. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.

J. Portugal Ramos 2017 Alvarinho (Vinho Verde); $18, 90 points. This wine comes from the Monção and Melgaço region in the north of Vinho Verde, spiritual home of Alvarinho. It has all the richness associated with the grape, with a strong layer of minerality as well as a zesty texture. Apples and green plums come through the young acidity. This will be better from 2019. MundoVino–The Winebow Group. —R.V.

Adega Mayor 2016 Reserva do Commendador Branco (Alentejano); $23, 90 points. This wood-aged wine is deliciously spicy. Antão Vaz dominates the blend and lends both rich apple and citrus flavors as well as an opulent character. The wine is poised, balanced and is just ready to drink. Aidil Wines/Old World Import. —R.V.

Mar de Frades 2017 Albariño (Rías Baixas); $25, 90 points. Citrus and mineral aromas are clean and proper for top-level Albariño from Rías Baixas. A lean tangy citric palate is exact and stony in feel. Lemon-lime and green-apple flavors are tight and tart, while this remains lively and tart on an acid-driven finish. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits. —Michael Schachner

Vionta 2017 Limited Release Albariño (Rías Baixas); $15, 89 points. Aromas of lanolin, orange and green melon are perfectly sound. This has a plump but citrusy mouthfeel and snappy flavors of orange and fresh lettuce. Keep your expectations reasonable and this is more than just good: it’s actually very good, especially for the price. Freixenet USA. —M.S.

Bodegas Valdemar 2017 Conde Valdemar Blanco White (Rioja); $17, 88 points. Apple and melon aromas are friendly and open. Tangy acidity straightens out an otherwise plump palate, while nectarines and slightly tropical flavors are ripe, round and flow nicely across the finish. Terlato Wines International. —M.S.

Mar de Viñas 2017 Albariño (Rías Baixas); $17, 88 points. Prickly lemon and pineapple aromas come with modest minerality. This is zesty on the palate, with some body. Stone-fruit flavors of peach and nectarine finish full and healthy. This is a nice but basic Albariño to drink now. Grapes of Spain. —M.S.

Valserrano 2017 Blanco (Rioja); $17, 87 points. Aromas of seashell and lime blend with notes of almond skins and overt oak. Following the nose, this barrel-fermented Viura feels resiny from lengthy exposure to oak. Apple, vanilla and wood resin make up the flavors on this balanced but lean Rioja with stand-out oak character throughout. Classic Wines, Inc. —M.S.

Published on October 19, 2018
Topics: Wine Ratings



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