Best Portuguese white wines from the country's indigenous grapes

Wine news

Wed 3 Feb 2021

Portugal is often thought of as red wine country. Given its reputation for Port and those big, classy reds from the Douro Valley, that's understandable – to an extent. But Portugal is enjoying a long-overdue resurgence with its whites, which are some of most diverse – not to mention good-value – you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Twenty years ago, Vinho Verde was the only Portuguese white with any public recognition, but the progress made by the country’s white wines has been extraordinary. Anyone suffering from a jaded palate should explore them – they’re the ideal way to get you excited about wine again.

As the wine world drowns in a sea of ubiquitous grape varieties, Portugal is rightly proud of its indigenous varieties that you won’t find anywhere else. The likes of Arinto, Fernão Pires, Antão Vaz and Loureira may not trip off the tongue like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, but they offer a fantastic range of flavour, ranging from crisp and mineral to floral and fruity.

This year’s IWSC winners are a great representation of this diversity, too – take Adega Cooperativa de Cantanhede’s Villa Rosa Reserva 2017 made with Arinto, a delightful combination of vibrant grapefruit, soft white peach and thyme. Or for something sparkling, try Baga Blanc de Noirs Brut 2017 from Marquês De Marialva, which drew praise from the judges for its delicate notes of grapefruit and lemon, and nutty refreshing character.

The following are the best Portuguese white wines as sampled in the 2020 IWSC.

Top 13 white wines from Portugal

Colheita Selecionada 2013iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-1.png
Dom Ponciano

Vinho Verde, Portugal

Stone fruits, pineapple and lemon and lime form the basis of this rich, concentrated wine. Very nicely integrated oak adds a smoky complexity and aids the silky smooth finish. 12.5%

Bruto Natural 2017iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-2.png
Quinta Da Raza

Vinho Verde, Portugal

Fresh citrus and green apples, pretty floral notes, a fine line of acity and a touch of creamy texture amount to a thouroughly enjoyable, well put together wine. 12.5%

Reserva 2017iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-3.png
Adega de Borba

Alentejo, Portugal

An enchanting wine well worth visiting for its subtle yet complex aromatic blend of lemon, lime, nuts and dried fruits and a beautifully caressing sensation on the palate. 13%

Sauvignon Blanc-Verdelho 2018iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-4.png
Casa Ermelinda Freitas

Peninsula De Setubal, Portugal

A delightfully aromatic nose of flowers and tropical fruits lead to a juicy, plush and flinty-mineral palate, demonstrating real skill in producing this complex and balanced wine. 13.5%

Villa Rosa Reserva 2017iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-5.png
Adega Cooperativa de Cantanhede

Bairrada, Portugal

Delightfully complex palate of vibrant grapefruit, soft white peach and thyme. Fresh acidity and precise structure creates a well-balanced wine. 13.5%

Terraço Real Premium Branco 2018iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-6.png

Alentejano, Portugal

Sophisticated and lofty, akin to a Hunter Semillon. Refreshing lemon and limes topped by dried fruits and toast with good weight and a clean finish that facilitate the next glass! 13.5%

Vinha do Rosário 2019iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-7.png
Casa Ermelinda Freitas

Peninsula De Setubal, Portugal

Floral notes open a layered and evolving nose of apple skin and some juicy tropical characters. A nutty complexity combined with textured minerality make for a mouthwateringly delicious wine! 12.5%

Grand'Arte Alvarinho 2019iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-8.png
DFJ Vinhos

Lisboa, Portugal

Enduring zestiness with fresh lemons and limes, a hint of lemongrass adds complexity. Racy acidity and good weight on the palate create a well-balanced finish. 12.5%. Available from Portugalia; £10.67

Alvarinho 2018iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-9.png
Dom Ponciano

Vinho Verde, Portugal

Concentrated, zesty citrus on the nose with a plush, ripe texture and refreshing pure acidity. A hint of pineapple and long finish really show a distinct quality. 13.5%

Gábia NViwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-10.png
Ermelinda Vinhos de Portugal

Vinho Verde, Portugal

A refreshing and zesty fizz showing lots of crunchy green apples and some pretty floral aromatic notes. Good linear acidity with a characterful, long finish. 11%

Conde Vimioso Reserva 2018iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-11.png
Falua Sociedade de Vinhos

Tejo, Portugal

Enthralling macadamia creaminess that is smoky and flinty with notes of apple. The hint of oak is balanced by a lovely and enduring pastry texture and stone fruit. 12.5%

Baga Blanc de Noirs Brut 2017iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-12.png
Marquês De Marialva

Bairrada, Portugal

Delicate grapefruit and lemony citrus, a touch of minerality and some yeasty weight on the palate. A slightly nutty depth on the dry, persistant and refreshing finish. 12.5%

Reserva Especial 2018iwsc-top-portuguese-white-wines-13.png

Douro, Portugal

An intriguing wine where marked oak characteristics, vanilla, coconut and lees find cracking lime zest to balance out a highly textured fruity palate toward a long finish. Exceptional food pairing. 14%

Top Portuguese red wines