This was a new one for me and, tasted blind, I was fumbling around the Mediterranean for its origins. Southern Italy, Sicily, Spain all received the thumbs down.
So, Portugal it turned out to be and made from a rare grape variety – proclaimed as Portugal’s best white – called the Encruzado. Quinta de Saes 2013 Reserva Encruzado is from the granite-dominated Dao region in the centre of Portugal, probably better known for full, tannic red wines (though that is now changing/has changed). There are not many acres of Encruzado because it’s difficult to manage and prone to oxidise. However, when looked after, these wines have tremendous ageing potential.
The colours of lemon-yellow with green tinges suggested the freshness of acidity and this was confirmed on the nose of lemon mixed with a ripe peach. This was a rich smelling wine with a slight whiff of oxidisation but not unattractive for that. There were herby notes on the nose – all very complex.
The palate was medium length, dry initially but, as it sat in the glass, developed a sweetness. The vanilla flavours suggested oak contact, something which suits Encruzado I established later, and there was a heavy feel to the wine. Again, research showed that the wine develops well on its lees which would account for the richness and the almost Burgundian notes.
[Richard : from the WS, £13. Selected because of two good reviews by WS members. Very nice drink, plenty going on. The sweetness we noticed faded on day 2.]